Night Officer is known around the barn for his easy-going, laid-back demeanor but he’s clearly a different animal on the track. On the track he’s a fighter, never willing to concede an inch. He showed these characteristics again on Friday, July 31 when he finished a game third in an Optional Allowance Claiming Race at Saratoga. Held close to a fast pace (21.73 seconds for the quarter and 43.94 seconds for the half), Night Officer just missed the place spot by a nose. Night Officer’s the portion of the $90,000 purse pushed his career earnings to $343,158 and improved his lifetime record to 39-7-3-10.
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The fireworks came early at Belmont Park on Saturday when Ready for Rye, making his first start on turf, turned in yet another dazzling performance! Away quickly, Ready for Rye led the field through swift early fractions en route to an easy 2-3/4 length win. With Javier Castellano merely along for the ride, Ready for Rye cruised the 7 furlong distance in a blistering 1:20.94. In seven career starts, the ever consistent gelding has earned $350,960 and has yet to finish off the board.
They say all good things are worth waiting for… or is it fighting for? No matter, Latigo Trail did both. Loaded first into the gate, Latigo Trail and jockey Manuel Franco had to endure a 3-1/2 minute wait while the assistant starters backed another horse out of the gate and loaded the others in a 12-horse field. The delay proved soporific for Latigo Trail, who broke fourth to last and had to fight his way into contention. He was in front after a quarter-mile, though, and never looked back, opening up a 3-length lead entering the stretch and holding on to win by just under a length in a sizzling 1:08.76 for six furlongs. It was his second start after a layoff. His next start will likely be at 5-1/2 furlongs at Saratoga.
Rare Eagle broke his maiden in exciting style at Belmont Park on Sunday, June 14, rallying from sixth place entering the stretch to win by a head at the wire. His trip to the Winner’s Circle was aided by a perfect ride from future Hall of Fame jockey, Javier Castellano. Away last in a tightly bunched field, Rare Eagle was never more than 5-1/2 lengths behind the leader and, despite going 5-wide around the turn and leading just 2 other horses, nonetheless entered the stretch with less than 3 lengths to make up. His strong finish in the race, contested at 1-1/16 miles around one turn, makes us anxious to see him around two turns at Saratoga later this summer.
In a race that felt like a prize fight down the stretch, Night Officer, our courageous 7-year-old gelding making his first start of the year, emerged victorious. Like all great boxing matches, this one went to the judges. Bumped three times and pushed off stride trying to pass the leader nearing the wire, Night Officer was declared the winner by disqualification after initially fallling short by just a nose. Night Officer rallied from last place in the 6 furlong turf affair and, despite getting beat up down the stretch, still managed to run the final eighth of a mile in just over 11 seconds.
Ready for Rye continued his career-long streak of gutsy performances with a third place finish in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park on June 6. As in previous efforts, Ready for Rye broke alertly and led the field through sizzling early fractions before giving way grudgingly down the stretch, completing the 7 furlong affair in a still fast 1:22.31. He earned $60,000 for the race, pushing his earnings to $293,360 in just 6 starts. Never off-the-board, his career record is 6-2-2-2.
If only the wire had come a few strides earlier! Instead, Latigo Trail, who led most of the way and even increased his advantage approaching the stretch, had to settle for a narrow loss in his 2015 debut at Belmont Park on May 25. Even so, there were plenty of positives. Despite losing, Latigo Trail earned a 77 Beyer Speed Figure— just a point below his career best— and pushed his lifetime earnings to just shy of the $100,000 mark. Since moving to turf, Latigo Trail has been off the board only once.
Put It Forward may not have won the 7th race at Belmont Park on May 10 but he still managed to deliver a gutsy performance and pick up a piece of the $80,000 purse. Away quickly, Put it Forward led the field through fast early fractions and only gave way inside the final furlong. Even then he continued to dig in, finishing fifth just 4-1/2 lengths behind the winner while setting a personal best time of 1:34.23 for the one mile turf affair.
Ready for Rye emerged from a troubled trip to finish a respectable third in the $300,000 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct on April 4. Off slowly and trapped inside horses during the early stages, Ready for Rye still performed gamely, launching a three-wide rally around the turn to claim the lead with only a furlong to run before being bumped and overtaken late. Despite the loss, Ready for Rye pushed his earnings to over $233,000 and has yet to finish worse than third in 5 career starts.
Talk about your encore performances! After finishing second in his first start in stakes company, Ready for Rye was simply dazzling in the Grade II Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park, rallying from just off the pace to win by almost 3 lengths. Ridden for the first time by Luis Saez, Ready for Rye completed the 7 furlong distance of the Swale in a very fast 1:22.39, earning a 109 Beyer Speed Rating and -2 Thorograph rating. How impressive was his effort? His 105 Beyer speed figure ranks second among all 3-year-olds this year!