Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

WRRB: Race Recaps and More

Posted by Brian Appleton on April 7, 2011

Inherit the Gold is becoming as valuable as his name suggests after the 5-year-old gelding won his fifth consecutive victory on Saturday at Aqueduct when he powered home to a 6 ¼ length win in the Excelsior Stakes (gr.3). Inherit the Gold made his graded stakes debut in the Excelsior as he rated under a snug hold in second behind a slow pace set by Understatement. As the field entered the stretch the striking grey moved up eagerly to take the lead under a vigorous hand ride by jockey Eddie Castro. From there he opened up by two lengths, running strongly and continuing to accelerate. He extended his lead to more than six lengths with a few taps from the whip before waltzing under the line in a flash of white. Final time for the 1 1/8 mile race was a fairly slow 1:50.34 but the time was of little consequence as the gelding finished well within himself.

The Rampart Stakes (gr.3) on Saturday was all about Awesome Maria. One of the quickest into stride out of the gate Awesome Maria rated comfortably off the pace set by Persuading in third with Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic victory Unrivaled Belle a length between in second. As the field entered the far turn of the 1 1/8 mile race Awesome Maria made a bold move on the outside, seizing the lead mid-way through the first turn. Entering the stretch the 4-year-old homebred filly began to extend her lead under a hand ride by jockey John Velazquez. She was 3 lengths in front at the 1/8 pole and by the time she crossed the wire she was 8 lengths ahead of second place finisher Successful Song. She is now undefeated in two starts this year and has won two race in-a-row, both Grade 3’s. Surprisingly not much has been made of Awesome Maria’s second consecutive romp, probably due to the fact that R Heat Lightning and Dialed In stole most of the headlines over the weekend and Uncle Mo is stealing all the rest. She really is a vastly improved filly this year and should be considered one of the top three older females so far this year.

Without Flashpoint to contest the 7 furlong Grade 2 Swale Stakes Travelin Man made easy work of the five horse field, winning the $147,000 contest by an easy two lengths. After rating in second just behind pacesetting Razmataz, Travelin Man moved up mid-turn, took the lead and never looked back, winning under jockey John Velazqeuz in a hand ride with an excellent final time of 1:21.94. The Swale was only the third start of the Trippi colts career. He sports a record of two wins and one second. It will be interesting to see how good he gets as the year progresses if he’s already finished second and won in Grade 2 races this early on in his career.

The Appleton Stakes has always been a personal favorite of mine seeing as it shares the same name as my last name. I’ve told everyone that will listen that I would love to own a horse someday that could run in the race and win. This year’s edition was my favorite edition by far since I began watching it back in 2007. Little Mike led gate-to-wire in the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes for his third graded stakes score of the meet, winning by one length over Riviera Cocktail with Asphalt a neck back in third.

S. S. Stone posted an easy win in the Grade 3 1 3/16 mile Skip Away Stakes on Sunday to remain undefeated in four starts at Gulfstream Park. The 5-year-old son of Birdstone came from just off the pace to take command of the field in the homestretch, motoring home to win by two lengths. Jackson Bend ran on well to take second by a length over favored Colizeo after drifting out badly in the homestretch but he was no match for the winner. I love Jackson Bend, he was one of my favorite 3-year-old colts last year but after taking a break after running third in the Preakness Stakes, he finished unplaced in four consecutive starts. Here’s to hoping he launches a winning campaign from here on out.

Amazombie produced a stellar effort in the Potrero Grande Stakes (gr.2) to outfight Captain Cherokee in a furious stretch drive at Santa Anita Park on Sunday, winning by a head. Over a deep field that included Crown of Thorns, M One Rifle, Atta Boy Roy and Ventana, Amazombie raced just off the pace set by M One Rifle in 6th before moving in tandem with Captain Cherokee to overtake the leaders shortly after entering the homestretch. From there the two contestants battled head and head to the wire, with Amazombie gaining a slight advantage before the wire. Race favorite Crown of Thorns finished 7th in his first start since last October’s Goodwood Stakes (gr.1).

Peppers Pride gave birth to a beautiful chestnut filly by Distorted Humor on February 19th it was announced on March 31st. Along with Zenyatta Peppers Pride holds the modern day record for the most consecutive wins by an American thoroughbred racehorse, retiring undefeated in 19 races.

Speaking of Zenyatta the immensely popular 2010 Horse of the Year was honored with the 2011 William H. May Award by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. The award is presented to an individual or group that has given “meritorious service” to the horse racing industry. This is the first time the honor has been awarded to an equine athlete.

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