Gary Contessa on Friday confirmed Rydilluc for the Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds on August 9.
a two-time stakes winner, is looking to get back on track after
dead-heating for eighth as the favorite when competing over "good" turf
in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby on July 13. Contessa had considering
running Rydilluc in the Grade 1 Secretariat on August 17 at Arlington
Park before deciding to keep the colt at Saratoga for the Hall of Fame.
ran a mile and a quarter in the Virginia Derby, and he didn't run
well," said Contessa, who trains Rydilluc for a partnership headed by
Leonard Green. "I'm quite certain it was because of the soft turf. His
body language was completely wrong. He didn't show up that day. Rather
than go to [the Secretariat in] Chicago, where it rains every other day,
and wonder about the turf, I decided to stay home."
Virginia Derby was Rydilluc's first loss in five starts on the grass.
Previously, he had won the Grade 3 Palm Beach at Gulfstream Park and
the inaugural running of the Penn Mile at Penn National.
gets beat, that's the thing about this business," said Contessa.
"Zenyatta is a rarity, and horses like her. When they keep winning,
winning, and winning, it's a rarity. When you have a horse who wins that
many in a row and suddenly you have a change in track condition, you
wonder. Let's face it, soft turf is to a turf horse what slop is to a
dirt horse; either you like it or you don't like it. You don't know
until you do it. It was a rock-hard turf course [in the Penn Mile], and,
hopefully, we get a nice, hard turf course here. I'd say I'm leaning
towards scratching if it's raining and it's a yielding a turf course
because that's why we're pretty certain he didn't show up [in the