Rydilluc Shows Turf Prowess in Penn Mile
The Medaglia d'Oro colt, now 4-for-4 on grass, finished fourth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on Polytrack at Keeneland in his previous start. He clearly relished his return to turf with a victory just shy of the course record for one mile.
With Edgar Prado riding for a partnership managed by Leonard Green, Rydilluc broke well from post 7 but settled a bit in second and allowed 100-1 shot Yougotthatgoinforu to take the early lead. The leader got away with soft fractions of :23.55 for the opening quarter mile and :47.84 for a half mile on firm turf.
Favored Rydilluc moved to engage Yougotthatgoinforu entering the far turn and took over from the outside through a quicker 1:11.15 for six furlongs. Prado asked the colt for more run at the top of the stretch after seven furlongs in 1:22.50, and he responded with a final furlong in :11.49.
Rydilluc completed the one mile in 1:33.99; the course record of 1:33.12 was set by Thunder Brew in 2010. A pair of Todd Pletcher trainees, Charming Kitten and Jack Milton, both mounted bids at the top of the stretch and finished second and third, respectively, separated by a nose, with Pitch N Roll fourth.
The winning margin was three-quarters of a length, but trainer Gary Contessa was satisfied. He had tabbed the Penn Mile for Rydilluc months ago.
"He stamped himself as arguably the best 3-year-old turf horse in America," Contessa said after the Penn Mile. "He got it all together today and looked magnificent."
Contessa said the plan is for Rydilluc, who was bred in Kentucky by Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds, to race in the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) and Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT). The bay colt is out of the stakes winner Swift and Classy, by Clever Trick.
Managing partner Green said owning Rydilluc has been interesting because the partners decided, with help from Contessa, that the colt would be a grass horse. That made the job somewhat easier.
"Thank you very much," Green said. "We want him to be the best turf horse in the United States."
The colt's other stakes victory came in the Palm Beach (gr. IIIT) in March at Gulfstream Park. He also won a maiden event and allowance race on the grass. He has earned $471,990 from six starts overall.
Rydilluc paid $5.20, $3.80, and $2.60. Charming Kitten, who also clearly prefers turf, returned $5.40 and $3.40. Jack Milton, who got off slowly and rallied nicely late, paid $3.40. The exacta paid $27 and the trifecta $84.
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