Eddie Kenneally and Joe Rocco Jr. had a plan for Honorable Dillon
and the 3-year-old son of Tapit followed it right into the Gulfstream
Park winner’s circle Saturday after winning the $150,000 Hutcheson
“The plan was to stalk the speed and not get too far back, not get
in a speed duel, and it worked out how we wanted,” said Rocco, who
guided the Kenneally-trained Honorable Dillon to a half-length victory
in the seven-furlong stakes.
Honorable Dillon, the 5-2 second betting choice in a field of eight
3-year-olds, stalked the early pace set by Singanothersong and pressed
by Undrafted along the backstretch. When the pacesetter tired on the far
turn, Undrafted moved to the lead with Honorable Dillon right over his
shoulder, setting up a heated stretch duel.
Honorable Dillon edged away from Undrafted nearing the finish line
and crossed the finish line just in time, as Forty Tales, the 9-5
favorite under John Velazquez, soared late to nose out Undrafted and
Luis Saez for second money.
“It set up good. I thought he’d relax behind the pace. I thought
there’d be some speed in the race, and there was. He relaxed beautifully
and stalked on the outside and really dug in,” Kenneally said. “He was a
little green and was on the wrong lead in the stretch, but he gutted it
out. He’s determined. He’s a nice horse.”
Forty Tales, who had won his first two lifetime starts, didn’t level
off after breaking from the No. 1 post position until getting to the
outside in the stretch.
“It was a difficult post going seven-eighths for a horse to make one
run, but in spite of all that, he ran a great race and ate a lot of
dirt,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who earlier in the day saddled
Verrazano for a 16 ¼ -length allowance victory that put him on the Road
to the Kentucky Derby. “He finally got out at the top of the stretch and
closed really well, just ran out of real estate.”
Honorable Dillon ran seven furlongs in 1:22.53 to earn $90,000 for
owner Joseph Bucci with his first stakes win and second victory in four
lifetime starts. Kenneally said he’d talk with the owner to come up with
a plan for the gray son of Tapit.
“It’s a shame that these Grade 2 stakes aren’t getting any points
for the Kentucky Derby. I think it’s wrong. We may try (to stretch him
out). We’d like to try at some point,” Kenneally said. “He’s bred to go
farther than seven eighths of a mile. Can he do it? We’ll find out when
Kenneally said the seven-furlong Swale (Grade 3, March 2) is a definite possibility.
The Kenneally-trained Majestic Hussar, an impressive allowance
winner at Gulfstream on Jan. 19, worked five furlongs in 59.77 seconds
at Palm Meadows Saturday morning. The son of Majestic Warrior is being
pointed towards the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park
on Feb. 23.
“He worked super. He’s on track for that race,” said Kenneally,
whose colt turned in the fastest of eight clocked at the five-furlong