Stalking Sage Valley Wins Maryland Sprint

Stalking Sage Valley Wins Maryland Sprint
Photo: Skip Dickstein
Sage Valley pulls away late to win the Maryland Sprint Handicap.
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Running for the first time in 2013, Michael Dubb's Sage Valley earned his fourth straight victory when he took the $150,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico Race Course May 18 (VIDEO).

Ridden by John Velazquez to victory over eight other older horses in the six-furlong event, favored Sage Valley completed the distance in 1:10.51 on the fast main track. He had not raced since a 6 3/4-length romp in the Mr. Nasty overnight stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack Nov. 9.

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez sent out the 4-year-old son of Discreet Cat  , who now has won five of eight career starts. Dubb claimed him last year for $50,000 from a third-place finish in an Aqueduct allowance race in February 2012. 

Fourth off the pace set by Manito, who dashed to the front for a quarter-mile in :22.84 and a half-mile in :45.77, Sage Valley moved up approaching the final turn after five-eighths in :57.97. He passed Hardened Wildcat, who had taken the lead turning for home, at the furlong mark and drew off. Laurie's Rocket closed for third, 3 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up.

"I thought there was plenty of speed in the race and if I could sit just off the lead and make a run down the lane that would be perfect," Velazquez said. "He responded just the way a horse should."

Sage Valley carried 114 pounds paid $6.60, $4, and $2.80, while Hardened Wildcat brought $3.80 and $2.60, and Laurie's Rocket returned $2.80.

The winner was bred in Kentucky by Buck Pond Farm out of the Cryptoclearance mare Ashwood C C.

"The race came up pretty tough," Rodriguez said. "I was looking for a race in New York, but I'm glad I came to this one. He ran great.

"He's had some issues so we have to take our time with him and he'll perform."

Warrioroftheroses ran fourth, followed by Immortal Eyes, Broad Rule, Manito, and Action Andy.

Candyman E and Poseidon's Warrior   scratched.

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