Richard Bahde's Cougar Ridge, claimed for $62,500 in April, won his fourth race in a row when he rallied from just of the pace to capture the $250,000 Delta Mile Nov. 21 at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel.
Video: Delta Mile S. (BT)
Ridden by Robby Albarado for trainer Randy Morse, Cougar Ridge entered the Delta Mile off of a win in allowance company on the dirt at Keeneland. Before that the 7-year-old gelding by Johannesburg, out of the Elnadim mare Wild as Elle, won the Remington Green Stakes and DeBartolo Memorial on grass at Remington Park, and a turf allowance event at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.
Cougar Ridge got away in fourth in the Mile, behind Rise Up, Mister Pollard, and F J Uncle Vic. Rise Up set a quick pace on the track rated good with fractions of :22.71 for the opening quarter-mile, :46.71 for the half-mile, and 1:12.31 for six furlongs. The running order remained unchanged until Cougar Ridge moved into third ahead of F J Uncle Vic on the backstretch, circled three-wide around Rise Up and Mister Pollard, and took the lead near the top of the stretch.
Cougar Ridge, bred in Kentucky by Wild as Elle LLC and the Johannesburg syndicate, was kept to task to hold off the late run of favored Departing, who rallied from fifth on the backstretch to take second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner. Rise Up held well for third, 7 1/4 lengths behind Departing, with Mister Pollard fourth. Cougar Ridge paid $6.80 to win as the second choice.
"He's a real nice horse," Bahde said after the victory. "I want to thank God for blessing me with a fabulous runner. To win a race like this with that kind of company is truly great."
Cougar Ridge, who began his career in Ireland, has proven himself on turf (five wins) and dirt (six wins) surfaces.