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Contessa Confirms Rydilluc for Hall of Fame Stakes

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.

 

Rydilluc, 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.

 

"He 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."

 

The 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.

 

"Everybody 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 Virginia Derby]."

 

 

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