King of the Roxy Rules Hutcheson Stakes

King of the Roxy Rules Hutcheson Stakes
Photo: Equi-Photo
King of the Roxy, en route to victory in the Hutcheson.
Team Valor Stables' King of the Roxy swept up on the outside coming off the turn and rallied smartly through the lane to win Saturday's $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds by 2 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park.

With Edgar Prado riding, the Todd Pletcher-trained King of the Roxy earned his second grade II win while completing the 7 1/2-furlong event in a time of 1:28, one second off the track mark. Prado was aboard the Ohio-bred King of the Roxy for the first time in the dark bay colt's last start, an eighth-place finish in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 4.

“Barry Irwin (Team Valor) and I talked at the beginning of the year and we decided to concentrate on one-turn races with him," said Pletcher, who won his fifth consecutive Hutcheson. "He showed last year he was a quality horse, so this was the logical starting point. I noticed in the paddock how much he’s filled out and matured. In the Breeders’ Cup, he just wasn’t seasoned for it. We freshened him up after that and have been pointing for this race for awhile.”

With 2-1 favorite Forefathers breaking poorly from his rail post, Spin Master led for the first quarter-mile of the Hutcheson as they went :22 for the opening split. Spin Master gave way to Finallymadeit, who led the nine-horse field through a :44 1/5 half-mile. But Out of Gwedda, never far back for John Velazquez, swept to the lead on the outside on the turn and took them into the stretch in front. King of the Roxy, always going easily, moved up without much urging on the extreme outside and was soon in command. He left the field behind as Bold Start, ridden by Keith Desormeaux, rallied for second. Out of Gwedda, the second choice of the bettors, held for third, 5 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up, with Reata's Rocket fourth.

"He didn’t really come out of the gate running," Prado noted. "He kind of hopped out, and was galloping along easy.  He had plenty left.”

King of the Roxy won two of five starts as a juvenile, including the Futurity (gr. II) at Belmont Park on Sept. 23 prior to the BC Juvenile, where the son of Littleexpectations--Marrakesh (Bold Forbes) was 38 1/2 lengths behind the winning Street Sense. He improved his earnings to $316,400 with the $90,000 winning share Saturday.

Deboarah D. Kopatz bred the Triple Crown-nominated King of the Roxy, who was sold for $8,000 as a yearling at Keeneland.

Sent off as the fourth choice, King of the Roxy paid $15.40, $7.40 and $4.80.

The Ken McPeek-trained Bold Start, who added blinkers Saturday after a sixth-place finish in the Holy Bull (gr. III) last out Feb. 3, returned $10.60 and $6.60, rounding out a $167 exacta.

“He’s got a lot of talent," McPeek said of the runner-up. "The battle is getting it out of him. He’s still in the game. I’d like to run him 1 1/8 miles in four or five weeks, probably the Illinois Derby (gr. II)."

The Illinois Derby is April 7 at Hawthorne Park.

Out of Gwedda, also trained by Pletcher and making his graded stakes debut, was worth $3.40 to show.

After Reata's Rocket came Air Lord, Storm in May, Forefathers, Finallymadeit and Spin Master.

“The plan was to break sharp, and then ride the race from there," said Manoel Cruz, who rode Forefathers. "Another horse got mad in the gate and I was the first horse to get in the gate. There goes the moment.”

(Chart, Equibase)

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