When Ridin With Biden finished a very strong second to First Captain a year ago in the Grade III Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park, it really looked like the son of Constitution had the potential to finish off his 3-year-old season with a flourish. But it did not happen.
“I don’t have a real good explanation for why he wasn’t as good I thought he was moving forward last summer other than that he was so tough on himself last year,’’ trainer Butch Reid said. “He was a bad stall walker. He would use himself up a lot before he would go to the race track.’’
So, the decision was made by owners Chuck Zacney (Cash Is King) and Glenn Bennett (LC Racing) to have the horse gelded when he went to Florida in January.
“That’s made a world of difference,’’ Reid said.
After his return to Parx, Ridin With Biden has been everything the owners and trainer had hoped for and maybe even more than they could have imagined. The gelding’s Beyer speed figures became consistent and then took a giant leap to a 94 when second to the highly-regarded Tax in a stake at Delaware Park.
And then came Saturday in the $100,000 Deputed Testamony at Laurel Park. Jockey Frankie Pennington put Ridin With Biden on the lead in the 9-furlong race and the horse ran away from the field in the stretch to win by 6 1/4 lengths, earning a 100 Beyer.
Now, Reid is considering the $1 million Charles Town Classic on Aug. 26.
`It’s a mile and an eighth and he proved that he can certainly do that,’’ Reid said. “And that’s a lot of money.’’
There is also the Parx Mile and the PTHA Presidents’ Cup in September at his home track. Suddenly, Ridin With Biden is a player with options.
DAZZLING AT THE SPA
Trainer Steve Asmussen, 150 wins from the magic 10,000 mark, unleashed two of his stable stars within an hour Saturday at Saratoga. We got to see the amazing Jackie’s Warrior at Parx last September when he overwhelmed the field in the Gallant Bob. And there is a chance we might see Epicenter this September in the Bet Parx Pennsylvania Derby.
If there were not other horses in the Alfred Vanderbilt, one could have been fooled into thinking Jackie’s Warrior was on the track for a workout. At no time did jockey Joel Rosario ask the 2021 Sprint Champion to run. Still, Jackie “ran’’ 6 furlongs in 1:09.74 and won with total ease, the 4-year-old’s fifth Grade I win and 11th graded stakes win overall.
By winning the Vanderbilt, Jackie’s Warrior became the first horse in Saratoga’s history to win a Grade I in three straight years. Last year, it was that memorable win in the Jerkens over Life Is Good. In 2020, it was the Hopeful.
All Jackie’s resume lacks is a Breeders’ Cup victory. Two years ago, the colt got in a speed duel at a distance that was not his best. Last year, another speed duel and a dead rail at Del Mar.
This year, Jackie’s final race will be in the Sprint at Keeneland before he is retired to Spendthrift Farm. His final BC prep will be in the Forego on Travers Day when his fans at Saratoga will be able to see him off in style.
Epicenter was favored in the Kentucky Derby and ran a race that would have won just about any other year. Epicenter was favored in the Preakness and ran another terrific race. But just did not win.
The Jim Dandy had just four horses in it, but the four included the winners of the Preakness, Blue Grass, Louisiana Derby and Ohio Derby. Epicenter was favored again, ran great again and finally got rewarded.
The pace was moderate and Epicenter was last for much of the race. It did not look good – until Epicenter exploded in the home stretch and ran by Early Voting, Zandon and Tawny Port.
Epicenter has now been first or second in each of his eight route races. The colt still does not have a Grade I win, but that was more because he stayed in Louisiana where there are no Grade I Derby preps. Epicenter is absolutely a Grade I horse.
The Travers is next. Epicenter will be favored again. However the colt does, Asmussen will have a decision to make. Does he train Epicenter up to the BC Classic in November? Or get him a final prep in the Sept. 24 Pa. Derby, the colt’s final chance to run against straight 3-year-olds.
It was great to see Jackie’s Warrior at Parx last year. Would be quite nice to see Epicenter here this year.