The rain-soaked Belmont Crowd wasn’t fooled. Listed at 3-1 in the morning line, Ready for Rye was the 6/5 favorite when the gates opened. It made perfect sense. Including today’s victory, Ready for Rye has now finished first in four of his five lifetime starts on an off-track and earned $227,000. The only time he didn’t win, he finished second! This one was close for the first half-mile. Leaving the turn, Ready for Rye burst forward and opened a three-length lead before coasting home by more than two lengths. Jockey, Javier Castellano, never touched him with the whip. The win moved Ready for Rye ever closer to $1M in career earnings. He has now earned $817,090 in 27 starts.
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No Regrets delivered another sterling effort on the grass, finishing a clear second to the odds-on favorite in the ninth race at Belmont Park on Thursday, May 3. It was only his second time sprinting on the turf, but the formula was the same as in previous races. Breaking well from post 7, he immediately pressed the pace, claimed a small lead after a half-mile in 44.96 seconds, then raced gamely to the wire, losing by just a length. With two strong performances under his belt, we intend to keep him sprinting on the turf moving forward!
Racing wide and facing pressure the entire race, No Regrets responded in his customary manner: he refused to back down. Leading leaving the turn, No Regrets suddenly found himself in the middle of a three-horse battle down the stretch and seemed on the verge of being consumed by those rivals. He wasn’t. Instead, he continued to fight gamely, only succumbing in the last few strides to finish third. All in all, it was an encouraging turf debut for the 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid. Indeed, he may have found a new home sprinting on the grass!
After making his first start at Laurel Park in February, No Regrets returned on Thanksgiving Day to deliver a determined effort that saw him challenged every inch of the way. As it happened, though, the most important inch was the one he refused to yield. The winner by the narrowest of noses, No Regrets was pressured from the start, racing on or near the lead throughout and having to hold off the place horse in an intense duel that lasted the length of the stretch. With 50-year-old Edgar Prado aboard to urge him on, No Regrets earned over $15,000 for the win, more than the price of several thousand turkeys. All in all, it was a day to celebrate.
Ready for Rye put in his usual game effort on Saturday, October 7 at Belmont Park, finishing second in the $150,000 Turf Sprint Invitational Stakes while recording one of the fastest six furlong times in history: 1:07 flat! Ready for Rye, forwardly placed throughout, claimed a narrow lead at the top of the stretch before being overtaken inside the final sixteenth. Even so, his determination was apparent as he managed to maintain a narrow advantage over the show horse the length of the stretch. Ready for Rye earned $30,000 for his efforts, pushing his career earnings to $746,760.
There was something vaguely familiar about the eighth race at Saratoga on Thursday, August 31. As was the case in a similar allowance race at Saratoga just 25 days earlier, this race featured Manifest Destiny jumping out to an early lead then fending off numerous challengers down the stretch. But that’s where the similarities end. Manifest Destiny finished second in that race, overtaken inside the final 70 yards. That didn’t happen Thursday. The other horses in the race tried, of course, but Manifest Destiny was having none of it. He reached the stretch a half-length ahead of his nearest rival and refused to concede so much as an inch, digging in and maintaining that margin to the finish. The race marked the third consecutive in-the-money finish for Manifest Destiny and pushed his career earning to more than $124,000 for his brief career.
Despite being overlooked at 30-1 odds, for most of the race on Sunday, Manifest Destiny seemed to be having his way. Helped along by a perfect ride from Eric Cancel, Manifest Destiny took immediate control, setting easy fractions while racing along the rail. Challenged by E J’s Legacy reaching the quarter pole, Manifest Destiny, dug in and relinquished that rival before being passed on the outside by the winner inside the sixteenth pole and having to settle for second place. He is expected to make another start at the Spa before the historic race track closes for the season.
Manifest Destiny’s sire, City Zip, was known for his incredible speed in dirt sprints. His son, Manifest Destiny, took a longer and decidedly greener path to a third place showing on Sunday, July 16 at Belmont Park and it’s likely his famous father would have been proud. The New York native showed plenty of speed and courage on the front end, leading the field until the stretch when he was finally overtaken by the eventual race winner. Even then, he didn’t give up, digging in and ceding ground only grudgingly. The drop in class from allowance company seemed to work wonders; the 75 Beyer Figure he earned for his effort was a lifetime best!
Shoot the Gap didn’t win the fourth race at Belmont Park on June 24 but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Racing with blinkers for the first time, Shoot the Gap engaged the heavy favorite and eventual race winner from the break, giving chase all the way to the quarter-pole before settling for second, a full three lengths in front of the third-place finisher. As has become his custom, he never gave up, battling every step of the way. We are looking forward to his next start at the Spa!
On a windy, muddy day at Belmont Park on Father’s Day, Ready for Rye swept to the lead around the far turn then held the field at bay through the stretch to win by a length-and-a-quarter in his return from a 6-month vacation. The victory marked the third time in 4 tries Ready for Rye has won on an off-track and pushed his earnings to $710,260. He earned a 95-Beyer and a zero on the Thoro-Graph Sheets for his 2017 debut.