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HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

Rydilluc returns in Canadian Turf

 
Last season, Rydilluc was an absolute beast on turf running middle distances. After running a well-beaten 5th in his debut on the dirt, he bounced back to rattle off three straight victories on the turf, including a facile score in the G3 Palm Beach. Later in the year, trainer Gary Contessa stretched him out to 10 furlongs in two consecutive races, but the colt did not appreciate the extra distance, finishing 8th in the G2 Virginia Derby and 11th in the G1 Secretariat. Off since his poor Secretariat showing in August, Rydilluc returns in the G3 Canadian Turf Stakes, an event that should be right up his alley in terms of distance and location. Established as the 6-1 co-third choice, the now 4-year old colt faces a field of 11 other rivals in his 2014 debut.
 
 
Mr. Online—Talk about excellent recent form. Mr. Online enters on a 3 race win streak, and in his last 8 starts, he has compiled an 8: 5-3-0 record. That streak includes a stakes win, a stakes place, and a 2nd in the G1 Neartic. His last two races have been over this strip at this very distance, and with his rail draw, he stands a good chance of getting an ideal position early on in the race. Though he moves up in class, I think he can hang with this bunch.
 
 
Unbridled Ocean—Another victim of Dubai, Unbridled Ocean was shelved until last month after traveling to and competing twice at Meydan. He ran 7th over a sealed sloppy course after the 8.5 furlong NW3X event came off the turf. He bounced right back to capture a mile long optional claimer last out. Though he is a perfect 2-for-2 at over Gulfstream’s turf course, I don’t like his speed figures. Pass.
 
 
Rydilluc—Though he has been off for more than 6 months, Rydilluc returns at a distance and at a track he really appreciates. He’s undefeated both at Gulfstream and at the mile distance. His last two efforts prior to his layoff were horrendous, but I think they just showed that he wanted no part of the 10 furlong distance rather than he couldn’t compete with the top dogs. I like that Contessa worked him 7 furlongs in his last two published breezes, and I believe he should be fit and ready to roll.
 
 
Fredericksburg—In his previous start, Fredericksburg was just nipped at the wire after showing the way for the entirety of the race by Admiral Kitten in the John B. Connally Turf Cup after showing the way for the entirety of the race. He set pretty pedestrian fractions, getting the half in 50.70, and still couldn’t hold off Admiral Kitten’s late run. Pass.
 
 
Reload—Trained by Shug McGaughey, Reload is a recent dirt to turf transfer. Last out, he won by 3 when running on the lawn for the first time. Like Fredericksburg, he was able to click off slow fractions, but unlike that rival, he kicked away for home a clear winner. His turf works have looked good time wise, and Shug has nice stats for 2nd time grass starters and 2nd off a layoff starters. Consider for exotics.
 
 
Salto—In his last two starts, Salto has run second to Canadian Turf rivals Guys Reward and Mr. Online. He appears perfectly capable of taking down lower levels races, but in stakes races he has been competitive but never a winner. Many times, he has failed as the favorite in stakes races. I don’t see his tendency to blow stakes races changing here.
 
 
North Star Boy—Second in his last two outings, North Star Boy adds blinkers for the first time. He has had success at the claiming and allowance levels. Aside from appearing to like the Gulfstream surface, I don’t think he stands much of a chance here.
 
 
Joha—Hands down, Joha’s best season was his 2-year old season. Since then, he has been competitive in stakes company, but since his G1 victory in 2012, he has only captured the Basket Weave Stakes at Belmont Park. He usually races on or very close to the lead, and he has gotten away with very average splits in many of his races but hasn’t been able to complete the task. With his outside post, I’ll pass.
 
 
Bad Debt—A 7-year old gelded son of Grand Reward, Bad Debt has always been a consistent type. In his 48 career starts, he has finished 1st, 2nd or 3rd thirty-eight times. He was the runaway winner of the Millions Turf Preview, but then ran 3rd in both the Tropical Turf Handicap and the Sunshine Millions Turf. I don’t particularly like his post, but I do like his chances to fill out the exotics.
 
 
Hampstead Heath—Off for more than 5 months, Hampstead Heath drops into this spot off a 5th place finish in the G1 Northern Dancer at Woodbine. Prior to that, he ran 2nd in a pair of Grade 2 events at Woodbine. He makes one run, so the post shouldn’t hamper his race, though the speed bias might. Longshot alert.
 
 
Guys Reward—Another son of Grand Reward out of the same crop as Bad Debt, Guys Reward has had a very rollercoaster career. He had very productive seasons in 2010 and 2012 but only raced twice last year. Even though he has raced at Gulfstream 10 times, he’s never won here. He comes in off a win in the G3 Tampa Bay, but good form at Tampa Bay Downs doesn’t usually transfer to good form at Gulfstream. Pass.
 
 
Abtaal—Bred in Kentucky, Abtaal began his career overseas. Second in his debut, Abtaal immediately turned around and won at next asking, following that win with one in a Group 3 stakes. After that, he put in good efforts but did not win again until shipped to the U.S. Seven to eight furlongs appears to be his ideal distance, and he’ll be running late, much like he did in his U.S. debut. One to consider.
 
 
Overall, the turf has been playing fair throughout the meet. Thirty-nine percent of the pace-setters/pressers have won, with 12% wiring the field. This week, however, the speed bias jumped up to 50%, with 30% wiring the field. Posts 1-3 and 8+ have been the spots to be. Despite the long layoff, I really like Rydilluc in this spot. Last year he had a tendency to act up quite a bit, but I hope to see a more relaxed, more mature version of the colt this year after getting time off to rest and get his act together. I really like Mr. Online’s form and Bad Debt’s consistency. Those three are my top selections, and I’ll throw in Hampstead Heath as my top longshot pick.
 
 

 

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.