Rhum Has Room to Run in Ticonderoga

Leonard C. Green's Rhum used a ground-saving trip to full advantage Saturday afternoon to halt a four-race losing streak and win the $150,000 Ticonderoga Handicap for the second time in three years.

In winning the 23rd edition of this 1 1/8-mile turf race for New York-bred fillies and mares, Rhum, under jockey John Velazquez, swung out late in the stretch to overcome 2000 Ticonderoga winner Shopping for Love. The margin was 1 ¾ length and the winning time was 1:53 2/5 on the soft inner turf course.

"Things worked out perfectly," said jockey John Velazquez. "I was able to save ground with her around the first turn. Once she was real comfortable, I pulled her outside of horses. At the three-eighths pole, I asked her to go. She picked it up, little by little. She really punched in mid stretch and that was it."

Wining trainer John Servis, who was at Delaware Park on Saturday, saw the race via simulcast.

"I thought she ran great," he said. "Johnny (Velazquez) rode her perfectly. I thought the speed would have taken its toll on her, but the fractions were slow and the track was kind of yielding. Johnny could have put her up close, but with the slow fractions, he just tucked in and waited until the head of the lane."

Shopping for Love, the even-money choice, barely outlasted Dynamic Lisa for the place. A winner of more than $600,000 in her career, the 5-year-old Shopping for Love is scheduled to go to the Keeneland Sale Oct. 31.

"She ran well," trainer Ken Nesky said of Shopping for Love. "(Jerry Bailey) had to use her a little bit leaving there; I would have liked to have seen her a little farther back. He's a good rider and a good jockey, so there's no excuse. She behaved herself very well today."

Bailey, who passed a kidney stone earlier this week, had no comment.

Rhum returned $14 to win for her seventh victory in 15 starts. She has now won more than $300,000.

(Chart, Equibase)