It has been a big month for the reputation of Kentucky-based Clare native Gerry Dilger, seen here admiring one of his horses. But his County Meath-born partner Mike Ryan has gone one better with the victory of Cloud Computing in the Preakness.
By John Manley
Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico turned out to be a mixed bag for the Irish connections of Always Dreaming. The Kentucky Derby winner contested the race until the head of the stretch, where he began backing up, eventually finishing eighth in the 10-horse field. The victory by Cloud Computing only enhanced the reputation of Mike Ryan, who with Gerry Dilger, bred Always Dreaming. Ryan purchased Cloud Computing as a yearling for $200,000 on behalf of owners Seth Klarman and William Lawrence. So, Ryan has been instrumental in the careers of the Derby and Preakness winners this year.
Multiplier, trained by Brendan Walsh, came home sixth, about six lengths behind Cloud Computing, the winner. Despite finishing off the board, Walsh was upbeat about his charge’s effort.
“He finished good and he ran a decent race,” Walsh said. “He tried hard, so it’s hard to be disappointed with him. It looked like he needed more ground. He did get a little stuck (on the rail). He had a horse outside him. I thought there would be a lot more space with 10 runners, but there was a horse down on him the whole way and he never really got a break or really got a chance to get out of there.”
Walsh didn’t commit to a next start for Multiplier, but did return to Churchill Downs to break three maidens on the Sunday card there. First in was American Equistock’s War Union in the third race. This 3-year-old colt made his 2017 debut by dropping into a maiden claiming route and he led all the way under Corey Lanerie to post an $8.40 win mutuel.
Walsh and Lanerie clicked again in the sixth race, a maiden special weight sprint with Greg Ramsby’s Golden Domer, a 3-year-old filly that also went to the front and stayed there, reaching the wire five lengths in front. She paid $3.40 to win.
James Graham was in the saddle for Walsh in the nightcap, a maiden claiming sprint at the $30,000 tier. The script remained the same – get the lead out of the gate and stay there, which he did aboard Hillcroft Farm’s British Humor, a 3-year-old colt making his seventh lifetime start. He won by six lengths and returned $6.20 to win.
Mike Doyle and David Moran teamed to win the Grade 3 Selene Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday with Grizzel, an Irish-bred 3-year-old filly, owned by Merriebelle Stable and Anna Doyle. Moran kept Grizzel just off the early pace in this mile and a sixteenth race over the main track, and then put her into contention nearing the quarter pole. She got clear inside the sixteenth pole and won by one and one-half lengths. She paid $8.40 to win. Martin Butler bred Grizzel.
RYAN WINS THREE ON SUNDAY
Derek Ryan had a hat trick spread out over two tracks on Sunday. He won two races at Monmouth Park, most notably the seventh race, a first-level allowance route on the turn with Judy Sessa’s Judy’s Chance. The 4-year-old homebred filly set the pace under Wilmer Garcia and widened to three lengths in front under the wire. That was the filly’s fourth straight victory and she is now 5-for-7 on grass, having finished second in her two defeats. She paid $8.40 to win as the second choice.
Ryan also won the ninth race at Monmouth with Germania Farm’s Tevere, a 3-year-old homebred filly. She rallied along the rail in her 11th career start to win by one-half length under Paco Lopez. She paid $6.40 as the favorite.
Meanwhile, at Belmont Park, Ryan got a win in the fifth race, a claiming route with Tom Cullen and Daniel McKillop’s Believe Indeed. The 4-year-old filly was patiently ridden by Javier Castellano, fresh off his Preakness score, and got up late to win by a head. The connections of the second finisher, Michael Repole and Bruce Levine, got some revenge of sorts by claiming the winner for $35,000, which is $15,000 more than Ryan plunked down for her last year. The win mutuel returned $4.20.
Sligo native John Haran remains top of
the trainers’ heap at Indiana Grand.
FOUR FOOTED FOTOS
MORE THERE THAN SEEMED
There didn’t seem a whole lot to like about Bloom Racing Stable’s Ultimate Holiday, a 5-year-old mare that Michelle Nevin sent out in Friday’s third race, a third-level allowance sprint on the turf, at Belmont Park. The mare, most recently trounced in a stakes race at Charles Town run over a sloppy track, does her best running when let loose on the lead and that’s what happened here. Apprentice jockey Hector Diaz, Jr. coaxed her to the wire, just over a length in front, to set off a pari-mutuel bonanza for those who used a little imagination to risk money on her. She paid $69.00 to win, and most multirace sequences in which she factored came back in excess of $1,000.
Nevin also won Sunday’s third race at Belmont with Vincent Scuderi’s Draxhall Woods, a 7-year-old gelding that has been a popular commodity at the claim box. Nevin took him two races back for $20,000 and entered him here for $16,000. He was always prominent under Jose Ortiz and prevailed by almost two lengths. The win mutuel came back $6.00 and the gelding was claimed by Robertino Diodoro.
Leo O’Brien scored his first win of 2017 in Belmont’s third race on Saturday when Lake Lonely Racing’s Backsideofthemoon held on under Pablo Fragoso for a nose victory in an open allowance route on the grass. The 5-year-old ridgling had been winless for over a year and was making his turf debut against a compact field of runners with stakes experience. No matter, he paid $35.80 as the longest shot on the board.
John Haran remains atop the trainers’ heap at Indiana Grand, although he has company there now. A pair of wins on the Friday program helped. His Champagne Tony and The Sligo Poet ran 1-2 in that order in the third race, a nickel claiming sprint. The duo paid more to place, $4.60, than they did to win ($4.20). Then, in the sixth race, a first-level allowance sprint, the Sligo native’s Charming Deputy rallied under A.L. Contreras to post a two-length victory. He paid $9.60 to win.