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Jockey Elvis Trujillo and Presious Passion head for the winner's circle after the W.L. McKnight Handicap
There were four graded stakes races conducted at Calder Race Course in Miami on Saturday as part of their "Grand Slam II" promotion. The main event on the afternoon was the $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) for older horses going 1 1/2 miles on the turf. Kiaran McLaughlin trainee Stream of Gold was sent off as the 3-2 favorite in the 12-horse field coming off a fourth place finish in the Canadian International at Woodbine. Also in the race were 7-2 second choice Revved Up, winner of the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup last time out, and 9-2 third choice Soldier's Dancer, who finished second to Revved Up in the Bonnie heath after winning the Calder Derby by 6 lengths.
First time by with Kiss the Kid leads over Bob's Proud Moment and eventual winner Presious Passion
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 8 Presious Passion Trujillo 136.20 51.60 22.80 11 Stream of Gold Castro 3.00 2.80 12 Kiss the Kid Madrid 8.80 $2 Exacta 8-11 605.20 $2 Trifecta 8-11-12 3,814.40 $1 Superfecta 8-11-12-7 76,843.60 Winning Time: 2:26.13Results Chart
Presious Passion in the winner's circle. His trainer Mary Hartmann said, "He’s the nicest horse I’ve ever been around. I got him about this time two years ago just before he turned three. He had never been this distance before today, but I had no doubt that he would go this far on firm ground. In the Red Smith (at Aqueduct) the course was yielding, and he ran better than I expected he would (5th). He’s run against and beaten good horses before. He won the Cliff Hanger (at the Meadowlands), but this is the biggest race I’ve ever won. He can go shorter or longer. We’ll just wait and see what comes up when he’s ready to run again, probably at Gulfstream."
Left: Presious Passion returns after the race.
Right: Presious Passion in the post parade. His jockey Elvis Trujillo said, "The trainer told me that his last two races were better than they looked on paper, so to ride him with confidence and just try to get a good trip. She was right and it worked."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Stream of Gold returns after the race. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee raced in midpack 6th for the first mile saving ground along the hedge the whole way, came out wide into the stretch and finished well to get second place under jockey Eddie Castro. The 6-year-old gelded son of Rainbow Quest improved his record to 3 wins, 5 seconds, and 1 third in 17 starts, earning $530,199 for owner Zabeel Racing International.
Right: Third place finisher Kiss the Kid was quite frisky in the paddock. The 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid set the pace most of the way, battling to the 1/8 pole before yielding under jockey Mario Madrid. He improved his record to 5 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 15 starts, earning $240,467 for owner-trainer Amy Tarrant.
Down the stretch with Redaspen leading over Green Girl and My Rachel
25-1 Oh Deanne O led the field for the first mile, through fractions of 24.52, 49.15, 1:13.83, and 1:38.32 while being stalked by My Rachel and Green Girl. Favorite Dalvina sat in midpack fifth early. Entering the stretch, Oh Deanne O tired and dropped from contention, allowing My Rachel to take a short lead at the 1/8 pole. However, the race set up for the closers, as 8-1 Redaspen, who was in ninth at the 1/4 pole, found room along the hedge for her rally, and got up to win by 3/4 length over Green Girl in 2:26.63. It was another 1 1/4 length back to favorite Dalvina, who moved up between horses in the lane to get third.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 6 Redaspen Castro 18.60 7.20 3.40 3 Green Girl Desormeaux 5.60 2.80 5 Dalvina Velasquez 2.20 $2 Exacta 6-3 97.60 $2 Trifecta 6-3-5 348.00 $1 Superfecta 6-5-5-2 516.10 Winning Time: 2:26.63Results Chart
Redaspen in the winner's circle. Her trainer Rebecca Maker said, "The owners were considering retiring her, but this race was coming up and a personal friend of ours recommended sending her to us and taking a shot. We ran her going shorter (My Charmer on Dec. 1) and she ran well. She never had been this distance before, but Eddie (Castro) rode her perfect and she got a great trip. Now, I guess we’ll have to talk about her future."
Left: Redaspen returns after the race.
Right: Redaspen in the post parade. Her jockey Eddie Castro said, "The trainer told me that this filly has a strong late kick, so I stayed near the back to mid-pack most of the race. When I started to let her run she really wanted to take off. We were down on the hedge and it was tight but we never got stopped or bothered in there."
Left: Second place finisher Green Girl in the paddock. The Christophe Clement trainee settled in third most of the way, came out three wide into the stretch, and finished willingly to get second just beaten 3/4 length under jockey Kent Desormeaux. The daughter of Lord of Men improved her record to 4 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 19 starts, earning $193,402 for owner Ronchalon Stable.
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Dalvina returns after the race. The daughter of Grand Lodge raced in midpack to the far turn under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, moved up between horses at the 3/16 pole and rallied mildly to nose out My Rachel for third. The Graham Motion trainee improved her record to 3 wins, no seconds, and 3 thirds in 7 starts, earning $211,181 for owner Andrew Stone.
On to the Fred W. Hooper Handicap and Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap results and photos
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