Exactly a decade ago, trainer David Donk saddled Awad to a Pilgrim victory, a win that would be the first of many for the son of Caveat. When Awad was retired in the late 1990s, the horse ended his career a four-time Grade 1 winner with earnings just shy of $3 million. To this day, Awad is the best horse Donk has ever conditioned.
Though young and still rather inexperienced, Rhythmic Motion shares some similarities with Awad - a deep closing running style and the knack of bringing home the bacon. Rhythmic Motion makes his two-turn and nine-furlong debut.
"I don't think he has any distance limitations," Donk said. "I think he wants more ground. Not because of his style, I just think he'll be better in longer races. He's still a bit green and I think he's got a lot of room for improvement. That's nice to say considering he's won both his starts."
Rhythmic Motion, a colt by Irish River, closed from 12 lengths out of it to win his debut against state-bred restricted company on Sept. 25. A little more than two weeks later, he swept by a competitive field in a Belmont Park entry-level allowance.
"He's been impressive and like I said, still a bit green," Donk said. "That race he comes out of was tough. I think it was a good gauge for everyone to see what they have. It was a good testing ground."
Jockey John Velazquez, has the mount on Rhythmic Motion, who is owned by Robert Spiegel.
Rhythmic Motion defeated Dogwood Stable's Hypnotist in that "key" allowance race on Oct. 9 by less than a length.Trainer Barclay Tagg said he doesn't think Hypnotist saw Rhythmic Motion until it was too late.
"I don't know if we would have won if he saw him," said Tagg of Hypnotist, who races while equipped with blinkers. "I do know that it was a good field and a good effort by our horse. He's still a little green. He should improve off of it."
Hypnotist isn't the only horse Tagg will saddle in a stakes race Sunday. He entered Storm Clipper, a maiden, in the Miss Grillo.
Twelve juvenile fillies are in the nine-furlong Miss Grillo. Three sit on the also-eligible list.
Storm Clipper has started just once on the turf, but showed marked improvement from her main track races. She also had a world of trouble.
Under jockey Jorge Chavez in a Belmont maiden special weight on Oct. 10, Storm Clipper was shuffled behind horses on the far turn, launched a bid along the rail while buried in traffic and finished up a game second behind Miss Grillo rival Comeback to Me. Storm Clipper was beaten just a neck for the win.
"I don't know what went on in there," Tagg said. "She was in tight through most of the stretch and still ran on. I think she's got some talent. We're taking a shot."
Albert Fried Jr.'s Marc's Rainbow makes her stakes debut in the Miss Grillo while seeking her third consecutive victory. A New York-bred daughter of Summer Squall, Marc's Rainbow won her only turf race versus restricted company by five lengths back in September. She gamely prevailed by a neck in an open-company allowance last time out on October 11th. That race was scheduled for the turf, but was switched to a sloppy main track.
Trainer Todd Pletcher also entered Comeback to Me in the Miss Grillo.
Fortuitous and One and Twenty won respective divisions of Woodbine's Natalma (gr. III) and share the 121-pound high weight assignment in the Miss Grillo. One and Twenty won her division of the one mile Natalma in 1:35, more than a full second faster than Fortuitous' time of 1:36 2/5.
$75,000 Pilgrim, 1 1/8 mile on turf, 2-year-olds
PP HORSE, JOCKEY, WGT.
1 Provincetown, Edgar Prado, 118
2 Awesome Cannonball, Jose Santos, 116
3 Hypnotist, Shaun Bridgmohan, 118
4 One Colony, Aaron Gryder, 118
5 Rhythmic Motion, John Velazquez, 120
6 Celtic Memories, Jorge Chavez, 118
7 Kon Tiki, Mike Luzzi, 116
8 Stroll, Richard Migliore, 118
9a Sir Walter Rahy, Jean-Luc Samyn, 116
10a Kick In, Javier Castellano, 118
11 Blakelock, No Rider, 116$75,000 Miss Grillo, 1 1/8 mile, 2-year-old fillies
1 Orkan, Javier Castellano, 115
2 Holy Roller, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 115
3 Fircroft, Jean-Luc Samyn, 115
4 Meadow Belle, Mike Luzzi, 117
5 Virgin Voyage, Dale Beckner, 117
6 Feijoada, Jose Santos, 117
7 Fortuitious, Edgar Prado, 121
8 Marc's Rainbow, Richard Migliore, 119
9 Storm Clipper, Jorge Chavez, 115
10 One and Twenty, Shaun Bridgmohan, 121
11 Comeback to Me, John Velazquez, 117
12 Burnt Bush, Luis Chavez, 115
13 Tiva's Little Sis, Victor Carrero, 115
14 Notmyfault, Ariel Smith, 115
15 Miss Kate Rusby, Aaron Gryder, 115