Favored Raconteur, under a vigorous ride from Chris DeCarlo, registered his first stakes win for trainer Todd Pletcher when he nipped Hakama by a head in the $76,500 Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park March 17 (VIDEO).
Dogwood Stable's Raconteur bounced back from a much-troubled seventh in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) March 3. The son of A.P. Indy defeated six other 3-year-olds in the Private Terms while completing the one-turn mile in 1:37.69 on a fast track.
G. Watts Humprey Jr. bred the winner in Kentucky. A $240,000 Keeneland purchase last April, the chestnut colt is out of the Storm Cat mare Miss Kate. Raconteur is nominated for the Triple Crown.
Raconteur, who did not break his maiden until his sixth start, has now three of his past four races.
DeCarlo, riding Raconteur for the first time, had the 9-5 favorite off the pace in fifth after showing little early speed. Raconteur rallied four wide on the turn and closed strongly under urging to collar Hakama just before the wire.
“I didn’t want them to get too far ahead of me because speed had been holding all day,” said DeCarlo said. “I know in his other races he had been a little further back and I started niggling on him at the five-eighths pole. When we passed the first wire I didn’t know if I’d get to him. I was actually lucky it was the second wire.”
“Very determined effort,” Pletcher said via text. “He was ridden perfectly.”
Hakama, ridden by Julien Pimental, had taken the lead approaching the quarter-pole after stalking pacesetter Yo Koffy, and opened up a clear advantage in the stretch. Brimstone Island, with Xavier Perez aboard, finished 1 3/4 lengths farther back in third.
The quarter-mile fractions were :23.90, :47.21, and 1:12.05.
Raconteur improved his record to 3-2-2 in nine starts with earnings of $157,800. In his only prior stakes race, Raconteur was bumped and forced to steady at the start of the Gotham and lost all chance. After chasing the pace, he faded to finish seventh, 12 lengths behind the victorious Hansen.
Carrying top weight of 118 pounds, Raconteur paid $5.60, $2.80, $2.60. Hakama, sent off at 3-1 odds, returned $3.40 and $3 while completing an $18.40 exacta. Brimstone Island paid $2.80.
Charge was fourth, followed by Cop a Tude, Yo Koffy, and Dangerous Lad.