Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

The Greek Is Here: Racing Updates

Posted by Brian Appleton on January 27, 2010

Winslow Homer

Apparently Winslow Homer can surprise even his own trainer, not to mention a group of seriously talented runners. Days before the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. 3) was run Tony Dutrow said of his star pupil that the one-turn-mile race would not best suit Winslow Homer’s ability, stating that the longer the distance, the more Winslow Homer would like it. Well, he proved he doesn’t need thing to go his way in the Holy Bull and moved his way up the short list of prospective Derby contenders. While Jackson Bend’s flashy five-race win streak was snapped in half, the colt was gallant in defeat and seems to have lost little, if any, respect for his second place finish. Both colts are now headed for the Fountain of Youth Stakes on February 20th where they could meet Buddy’s Saint, Eskendereya and other top Derby contenders. Buddy’s Saint currently sits atop many Kentucky Derby lists due to his impressive pair of graded stakes victories on dirt last year. Both races he won by open lengths, winning with ease.

I wasn’t expecting anything much to happen in the Lecomte Stakes (gr.3)

Ron the Greek

other than to see Maximus Ruler win, but Ron the Greek was super stylish in the way he stole the show. Closers can be so exciting to watch, especially the ones with huge strides that seem to cover twice as much ground as every other runner. Ron the Greek was breathtaking. When I watched the race for the first time the day after, I completely missed his move from the far back until he came flying past the field in the stretch, ears flicking a million different directions. He made it look easy. For some reason a majority of people I have heard seem to think this guy is a flash-in-the-pan. I think not, it wasn’t his first time winning and I think he took the step up in class and manhandled the competition with overwhelming talent. This was his 3rd win in 4 starts, I look forward to seeing how he goes in his next race.

Win Willy

Who remembers Win Willy? I loved this guy way back when. After winning the Rebel Stakes (gr.2) in 2009 he has come back to the winners circle for the first time. He waltzed to an easy 2 ½ length victory at Oaklawn Park last Thursday in a 1 mile optional claiming race. His next goal is the Oaklawn Handicap (gr.2) according to trainer Robertson. If his latest performance continues to be the norm for him this year you can chalk up another talented runner to the older horse division this year.

Speaking of older horses, Quality Road had his latest work in preparation for the Donn Handicap (gr.1) at Gulfstream Park Sunday morning. The talented colt went 5 furlongs in 1:00 1/5, a work that pleased trainer Todd Pletcher.

Friesan Fire, returned to the site of his greatest triumphs from the Triple

Friesan Fire

Crown trail last year and once again found his best stride by returned to the ranks of the victorious. Both General Quarters and Friesan Fire have been slowly returning to the races since disappointing runs in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and were the top two choices in the Louisiana Handicap. General Quarters finished second to Friesan Fire by 1 ¾ lengths. Two more older horse contenders? We’ll soon find out.

2009 La Brea Stakes victor Evita Argentina worked 5 furlongs in 1:12.60 on Sunday in preparation for her 2010 debut this Sunday in Santa Anita’s Santa Monica Handicap. She will not be the lone talent in the field by a long-shot

Evita Argentina

but appears to be the standout. Joining the cast of players is Diamondrella (making her last start under the tutelage of trainer Gary Stevens) Gabby’s Golden Gal and Free Flying Soul. Multiple stakes winner Tuscan Evening is a possibility for the race, but will most likely bypass in favor of the Buena Vista Handicap on February 15 according to the Daily Racing Form.

It should be a good weekend of fun races, but I have to admit that I am most looking forward to the weekend of February 6th. It looks like it’s going to be an incredibly loaded weekend with tons of top runners, a bunch of whom have their eyes set on Derby aspirations.

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4 Responses to “The Greek Is Here: Racing Updates”

  1. Carla Ruth said

    I’m looking forward to watching Evita Argentina tomorrow, 7 furlongs is the perfect distance for her. She’s one of my favorites because she’s by Candy Ride and I’m very partial to his offspring.

    • Absolutely, she’s one of my favorite race fillies as well. I also love the color of her coat, it’s like a soft honey-brown appearance.
      And thanks for stopping by to comment Carla, I was going crazy waiting for someone to comment! (:

  2. gib said

    Rail Runner,

    I stole the picture of RON THE GREEK for my blog. I hope that is OK.

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