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HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne

Bad "Moon" Rising

 
Calvin Borel was nicknamed Calvin Bo-Rail for his exploits on the inner part of the Churchill Downs main track, and he pulled another rabbit out of his hat Friday afternoon.
 
Riding Moonshine Mullin, a former claimer, the Hall of Fame rider stuck to the rail and outdueled Golden Ticket late, winning the $300,000 Grade 2 Alysheba at a big price. The race served as a prelude to the Kentucky Oaks, but from an excitement standpoint, the event more than held its own with Friday’s feature.
 
Breaking from the 1-hole, the son of Albert the Great broke on top and led through moderate fractions. Around the far turn, the Randy Morse trainee was challenged by Golden Ticket, and yielded the lead to that rival in mid-stretch while heavy favorite Will Take Charge toiled near the back of the pack.
 
Instead of fading to second, though, Moonshine Mullin dug in, inching ever closer. In the final strides, the 6-year-old and Borel regained the lead before hitting the wire clear by a half-length and stopping the timer in 1:42.83 for the 1 1/16-mile distance. Golden Ticket settled for second, while Coin Broker was a distant third, finishing nearly four lengths behind the top two.
 
Many expected Will Take Charge to do just that, but the Eclipse Award winner was a total non-factor. Jockey Gary Stevens seemed to be in a drive for most of the race, but the son of Unbridled’s Song could do no better than a well-beaten sixth.
 
The Alysheba also featured 2013 Triple Crown veterans Mylute (who finished fourth) and Golden Soul (the seventh-place finisher). Moonshine Mullin, who has now won four consecutive races, paid $15.80 to win and keyed an exacta that paid $81.60 for every $2 wagered. Before Friday, Moonshine Mullin’s main claim to fame was a strong 2011 summer at Saratoga, where he ran second in the Jim Dandy and sixth in the Travers.

 

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Older Comments about Bad "Moon" Rising...

Big Will has been raced heavily and often against top competition for over a year now. He looked tired in his last race in Arkansas. I am hoping against hope they give him a break until Saratoga. Heaven knows the colt has earned a vacation!
Will Take Charge, did not fire at all !!!!
Poor WTC, they better give him a break. I wonder if he could of tried harder but that was his way of giving a huge message to Wayne
100 BSF for MM in the Alysheba
That was vintage Calvin Borel. Neither he nor the horse had any quit down the lane!

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Meet Andrew Champagne

 

A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.


Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.