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!
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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.
No Regrets certainly didn’t shy away from a challenge! Making the first start of his career and facing a veteran field that had collectively raced well over the Laurel oval in their previous start, No Regrets raced a half-dozen lengths behind a sluggish pace before rallying slightly to finish fifth. The pace of the race was critical— the the top three finishers were the same 3 that lead after a half-mile— and No Regrets rally came at the precise moment they dug in as well.
Shoot the Gap did a fair impression of his precocious father in his debut on Sunday, February 12 at Gulfstream Park, flashing early speed and placing himself in a position to win before his rider dropped his whip at the head of the stretch and had to settle for 4th place. Even so, it was an impressive effort. In addition to the incident with the whip, he was pinched back twice during the race and was forced to rally four to five wide around the far turn yet still managed to gain ground on the leaders. We are hoping to race him in New York for his second start.
Manifest Destiny isn’t afraid to try new things. Racing around two turns and trying the turf for the first time, Manifest Destiny delivered a huge effort at Aqueduct on Black Friday, finishing a close second in a $57,000 Allowance race while trampling 9 others. Returning to the track after a four month layoff, Manifest Destiny was forwardly placed throughout and even held a brief lead at the quarter pole before being overtaken down the stretch. He’ll get another short rest before returning next year for his sophomore season.
Ready for Rye may have spotted the winner 7 pounds on the scales but he conceded nothing in heart and determination. Racing for the first time in more than a month, Ready for Rye finished a game third in the historic Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct on Thanksgiving. Carrying regular rider, Luis Suez, and 130 pounds, Ready for Rye posted a 97 Beyer, in line with the 95 average Beyer he has maintained throughout the year. After working on Thanksgiving, he will receive a well-deserved vacation this winter in Ocala before beginning his 2017 campaign.
Nearly three months to the day after suffering an agonizing defeat in the Jim McKay Stakes at Pimlico Race Course despite a remarkable comeback, Night Officer left little to chance in a $93,000 Allowance race at Saratoga on Thursday, rallying from 5th place entering the stretch to win by 1/2-lengths. Despite being bumped at the start and racing 5-wide into the stretch, Night Officer delivered another in a long line of courageous performances. Since turning 7 last year, Night Officer has finished first, second or third in 9 of his 11 races, nearly half of them Stakes! He seems to be getting better with age!
Fringe Benefits was determined to find the winner’s circle on Monday, passing 6 rivals in the span of about a furlong leaving the turn then pouring it on down the stretch to win by 4-1/2 lengths. Just how easy was her victory? Jockey, Shanon Uske, never used the whip on the 3-year-old daughter of Cape Blanco. The race itself, a $15,000 maiden claiming affair at Delaware Park was designed to build her confidence moving forward. On that and every other count, mission achieved!
Latigo Trail made his 2016 debut a winning one, rushing to an early lead then holding on down the stretch to earn the winner’s share of a $22,000 purse at Monmouth Park on Friday. Ridden by leading jockey, Paco Lopez, Latigo Trail blazed the first quarter-mile in 21.23 seconds and earned a career best 86 Beyer Speed Rating for the 5-furlong turf affair. Trainer, Bruce Brown, and his team did an outstanding job preparing Latigo Trail for the race. The five-year-old bay gelding earned his third career win and been in the money in all but two of his last half-dozen starts. His next start will be at Saratoga.
“Never, never, never give up.” Winston Churchill may not have used those words to describe Ready for Rye, but they certainly apply. Race in and race out, Ready for Rye always delivers his best — and his record proves it! In 15 career starts, Chalk Stable’s remarkably consistent 4-year-old gelding has finished worse than third only once. He was at it again at Belmont Park on July 9, 2016, rallying from near last to finish third in the Grade 3 Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes. Forced to race 6-wide turning for home, Ready for Rye rallied strongly and easily put away the race favorite while failing to catch the top two. The $48,000 he collected for the race pushed his career earnings to over $634,000 and his average earnings per start now stand at $42,317. Apparently never giving up has its rewards!