In what was perhaps an ode to poet, Robert Frost, Rare Eagle certainly took the road less traveled en route to finishing third in the second race at Belmont Park on May 11, 2016. It certainly wasn’t boring! The 9-5 favorite, Rare Eagle broke out at the start then proceeded to race 5-wide up the backstretch, 6-wide around the turn while encountering traffic, and finally 8-wide into the stretch. Even so, he still managed to pass four rivals in the final quarter mile and was comfortably ahead of the fourth-place finisher at the wire. It was his first race since late January.
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Ready for Rye battled the mud and a four-wide trip in the $100,000 Diablo Stakes on Sunday, May 8 at Belmont Park and, with the wire in site, seemed to have conquered all of those and six seasoned rivals in the race to oppose him when heartbreak struck and he was passed in the final strides. The 6-5 race favorite, Ready for Rye raced next-to-last during the early stages before beginning his rally around the turn, running a very brisk second quarter-mile that may have sapped some of his reserves. With his second place finish, Ready for Rye added another $20,000 to his burgeoning bankroll, which has already exceeded a half-million dollars.
Consistent, courageous, gritty. When it comes to Night Officer and his accomplishments, it’s easy to list superlatives. The amazing eight-year-old was at it again on Sunday, May 1 at Laurel, finishing a game third to future Hall-of-Fame candidate, Ben’s Cat, in a $62,608 Allowance race over 5-1/2 furlongs on the turf (the same course and distance where he holds the course record, incidentally). It was the fifth time in his last 6 starts that Night Officer has finished either second or third and helped push his earnings past the $400,000 mark ($405,994).
Ready for Rye returned to Keeneland race course for the first time since competing in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint there last Fall. This time, he gave the dirt track a try, finishing a valiant second in the $250,000 Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes at 7 furlongs. Held just off the pace, Ready for Rye really showed his courage in the latter stages, narrowly holding off the show horse— and race favorite— the entire length of the stretch. Ready for Rye earned $50,000 for his effort, pushing his earning past the half-million dollars mark. He shipped to New York after the race where he will continue his Spring/Summer campaign.
After four months away from the races, Ready for Rye made his 2016 debut in the $100,000 Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes at the Hallandale oval on Saturday and finished a game third. Normally a sure-starter, Ready for Rye stumbled leaving the gate, conceding ground and being forced to rally from fifth place while racing 3-wide around the turn. In the end, he came up just short but figures to move forward off the effort.
con·sist·ent: 1. unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time. 2. Night Officer. OK, so maybe the 8-year-old Chalk Racing veteran hasn’t earned an entry in Webster’s just yet, but it’s hardly for lack of trying. His most recent effort came on Saturday in the $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint Stakes. As usual, Night Officer broke slowly before rallying from 6th place entering the stretch to finish third, beaten a long neck for the win while recording a personal best 98 Beyer for his toil. The ultimate professional, Night Officer is now less than $1,500 from $400,000 in lifetime earnings.
On a day when the winner ran out of his mind and the place horse was the 3-2 favorite, Night Officer still managed to finish third in the $100,000 guaranteed Turf Sprint Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday, January 9. Indeed, despite encountering traffic problems that may have cost him second place, Night Officer finished strong, passing 4 horses inside the final furlong while gaining ground. All in all, it was a successful 2016 debut for the classy eight-year-old, who shows no signs of slowing down!
So Cruel started the New Year with a bang, winning a mile affair at Aqueduct to break her maiden. In the end, she made it look easy. But it didn’t start out that way. Content to race in last place for more than half the race, she trailed the field by nearly 16 lengths after a quarter-mile and more than a dozen lengths at the half while racing greenly. Entering the stretch 5-wide, she was still way behind. But then she started to run! Passing 4 horses in the final furlong, she sped away to a ¾-length victory and the winner’s share of the $31,000 purse.
Why Not Whiskey, closed out his tour of the Big Apple with another second place finish on the turf at Aqueduct on December 5. The 6-year-old New York bred son of WhyWhyWhy spent most of Saturday’s race forwardly placed in fourth before launching his bid nearing the five-sixteenths pole. Well-regarded at 7-2, Why Not Whiskey closed stoutly but could not catch the winner, who’d raced out to a big early lead. His fall campaign now over, he’s leaving his home state for warmer weather at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida, where he’ll spend the winter. He’s just $10,055 away from $200,000 in lifetime earnings.
Fringe Benefits is certainly patient. As was the case in her debut, she once more stood calmly biding her time inside the starting gate for over three minutes while the others were loaded. When the gates finally opened she was squeezed between the two fillies on each side, forcing her to break last. She continued to exercise great patience to the quarter pole before rallying to finish fourth. Her relaxed manner during her two career starts give us confidence she will enjoy running over longer distances moving forward. She will ship to Palm Meadows for the winter and race at Gulfstream Park.