Edward Evans’ 3-year-old homebred A Little Warm followed up his impressive maiden-breaking score with a victory in his stakes debut, as he came from off the pace and splashed home to a 1 1/2-length win in the $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes (VIDEO) Jan. 9 at rainy Gulfstream Park.
A 10 3/4-length maiden special weight winner Nov. 23 at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack, A Little Warm was sent off as the higher price of two Tony Dutrow entries in the six-furlong Spectacular Bid, although he was bet down from an 8-1 morning line to 5-1 by post time.
As he did in his maiden win, A Little Warm rated off the pace in the early going for Jeremy Rose. Wildcat Frankie
set the pace under Paco Lopez, while Grand Times
, Westover Wildcat
, and Discreetly Mine
chased the leader through splits of :22.37 and :45.60. Wildcat Frankie came off the turn still holding the lead, but A Little Warm, who broke from the outside post, moved into striking position and was just a length off the pacesetter when they reached the eighth pole.
Those two dueled briefly in upper stretch, but A Little Warm inched ahead when they hit the sixteenth pole and extended his lead to the wire. The final time on a sloppy, sealed track was 1:10.25.
Wildcat Frankie was a clear second, 2 3/4 lengths in front of Westover Wildcat, the other Dutrow trainee who was sent off at 2-1. Discreetly Mine, the 9-5 favorite, finished fourth after being in contention for a half-mile but giving way midway on the turn after being bumped while in tight.
“The trip was beautiful," Rose said. "The horse had been training really well. Tony always has them ready for races like this. He sat there, took the trip perfect, and I felt like I had the winning horse from the half-mile pole in. I got him outside of everybody, and never had to touch him with the stick. A horse like, one that rates, will go as far as you need him to go.”
A son of Stormin Fever
—Minidar, by Alydar, A Little Warm was bred in Virginia. He was runner-up in two of his first three starts before romping to his maiden score in his final start as a juvenile. The bay colt has now earned $104,280.
"He always showed ability, but it took a couple of races before he put it all together, and then he really came around when he broke his maiden by 10 in his last start," Dutrow said. "I see no reason why he won’t go on (more distance). We’ll discuss it with Mr. Evans, but the seven-eighths race (gr. II Hutcheson Stakes on Feb. 20) is there and we’ll consider that. The other horse (Westover Wildcat) ran well too.”
The winner paid $12.80, $6.40, and $3.20. The exacta (9-3) returned $83.60 and the $1 trifecta (9-3-5) was $133.70.
Discreetly Mine, who was racing for Todd Pletcher for the first time, was taken out of his race after being bumped, according to jockey John Velazquez: “I got bumped against the rail and didn’t have to check; I was already there. And that was it. He got intimidated from there. They got away from him, and he just couldn’t catch up again."
In the Spectacular Bid’s sister race, the grade III Old Hat Stakes (VIDEO) for 3-year-old fillies, Richard Ravin’s Richiegirlgonewild pulled a shocker when she wired the field for a 31-1 upset under Timothy Thornton.
A lightly-raced daughter of Wildcat Heir, Richiegirlgonewild came into the six-furlong sprint undefeated in two starts, having broken her maiden on the Arlington Park Polytrack in May and then winning an allowance contest at Charles Town in November.
In her stakes debut, Richiegirlogonewild broke alertly from post 9 and grabbed the lead from even-money favorite Cuff Me
while posting an aggressive :22.38 opening quarter mile. The bay filly continued to race well through a demanding :46.35 half mile and opened up a two-length lead with a furlong remaining. She was never seriously challenged in the stretch and bounded home to win by a length in the slop in a final time of 1:11.86.
finished second under Paco Lopez at odds of 48-1 and filled out a generous $2,057.80 exacta (9-4). Criolla Bonita
, the longest shot on the board at 85-1, was third and completed a whopping $1 trifecta (9-4-3) worth $18,401.80.
Richiegirlgonewild is trained by Larry Rivelli. She was bred in Florida by Robert Harris and Mary Harris out of the Saint Ballado mare Dream With Angels. She has now earned $93,600.
“We bought her at the sales ($100,000 OBS March 2-year-old)," Rivelli said. "She had worked fast for the sale and later on even out-worked older horses in my barn before she ever started. After she broke her maiden at Arlington she got hurt, which may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We wanted to run her once before we brought her down here for the winter and the race at Charles Town came up at the right time.
"We were looking ahead to the OBS races (restricted and run at the Ocala Training Center in March), but now that she’s won a graded stakes, that may change. I think she’ll go seven-eighths and we’ll definitely look at the Forward Gal (gr. II Jan. 31 at Gulfstream).”