Off at odds of nearly 10-1, the colt from the first crop of WinStar Farm sire U S Ranger
led by as many as eight lengths in early stretch before crossing the finish line 4 3/4 lengths clear of 8-5 favorite Poker Player. The runner-up kicked from last in the nine-horse field and closed rapidly through the stretch.
Ridden by Florent Geroux for trainer Wayne Catalano, Solitary Ranger was timed in 1:47.21 for 1 1/16 miles on Turfway's Polytrack surface. The race is the second local prep for the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (gr. III) March 22 at the Northern Kentucky track.
obliterated his opposition going 6 1/2 furlongs in the first prep, the 96Rock Stakes on Feb. 1, but tired in the Battaglia after forcing the pace five wide and checked in third.
The Battaglia win was Solitary Ranger's third from six career starts. He broke his maiden by 5 1/2 lengths third time out in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III) last September but was unplaced next out in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (gr. I), finishing ninth at Keeneland
to cap the season. Given three months off, he came back and led all the way to win a one-mile optional claiming race Jan. 6 on yielding turf at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots
"He likes to be on the front end, so he broke sharp; I took advantage of my good post, number two, and he ran good," said Geroux. "He got a little excited the last sixteenth, but he has a big heart and tries very hard. To me, he is a little more like a sprinter, but he also has a lot of stamina, and he has a huge heart, so he gives everything he's got."
Solitary Ranger was bred in the Kentucky by Richard Forbush and U S Ranger Syndicate. His dam is the winning Lil E. Tee mare Galileo's Star, half sister to stakes winners June's Reward and Thanks Tissar.