Ron The Greek

Ron The Greek

Anne M. Eberhardt

Ron the Greek Points for Saratoga Start

Stephen Foster Handicap winner will target Whitney or Woodward, owner said June 19.

Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) winner Ron the Greek will point for a likely start in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) or Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course this summer, co-owner Adam Wachtel said June 19.

The 5-year-old son of Full Mandate, trained by Hall of Fame horseman Bill Mott, beat Wise Dan by a head in the June 16 Foster at Churchill Downs for Wachtel and partners Nils Brous and Jack Hammer. Hammer also bred Ron the Greek in Florida out of the Fortunate Prospect mare Flambe'.

The Foster, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” event, gave Ron the Greek an automatic berth in the starting gate for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park. His owners plan on using the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park later this fall as a final stepping stone to that race. 

“We always thought if we could get lucky enough to win this, we’d put him away for the summer,” Watchtel remarked. “But in talking to Bill on the flight back we decided we’ll probably run him this summer.”

The $750,000 Whitney, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt for 3-year-olds and up, is scheduled for Aug. 4 this year. The $750,000 Woodward at the same distance and conditions is Sept. 1. The Jockey Club Gold Cup is typically run the first weekend in October.

“Waiting for the Whitney would give us almost two months from the Stephen Foster, and I think it’s about another seven weeks to the Gold Cup after that,” Wachtel said. “If he’s not ready for the Whitney, we can wait until the Woodward. We’ve spread his races out pretty well this year.”

Ron the Greek had six weeks between his March 3 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) score and a runner-up finish behind Alternation  in the April 14 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II), and nine weeks between that start and his Foster win.

“We’re trying not to run him too much, but keep him sharp at the same time,” said Wachtel. “Running him once this summer makes more sense than waiting for the Jockey Club Gold Cup.”

Wachtel said calls from agents and other parties looking to buy the horse have not sparked the interest of the partners so far.

“We probably will just sit tight and keep our ownership,” he said. “The reality is, I’ve sold parts of most of the good horses I’ve had, so I’m always considering such things, but our hope and plan is to run him right into the Breeders’ Cup. We’ve come this far with him.”