No one expected the success that
would follow Hudson Steele after his 2nd place finish (via dq) in the $200,000 Oliver Stakes at Indiana Downs in 2010.
The Todd Pletcher trainee invaded
the Hoosier State to contest against some of the top 3 year old turf horses in
the country. The royally bred Hudson Steele was made the
5/2 betting favorite in the 12 horse Oliver Stakes. The Roger Weiss owned gelding by Johannesburg
out of the Smart Strike mare Strike the Sky, hoped to prove his talent was as
good as his breeding.
This field was loaded with future
starts, Dale Romans sent out the entry of Lost Aptitude and future multiple graded stakes placed Guys Reward. Chris Block put the saddle on future multiple
grade III winner and 19-1 long shot Mister Marti Gras. Mike Maker gave jockey Victor Lebron a leg up
on the future multiple grade III winner, Lonesome Street. Darrin Miller shipped
Bim Bam from Florida to test this salty stakes group.
Jockey Robby Albarado gunned Lost
Aptitude to the lead from the start. Hudson Steele secured a comfortable
position sitting 5th in the early stages. Mister Marti Gras broke
slow, contently sitting in the back of the pack. Lonesome Street stalked the pace while
sitting in 3rd. Bim Bam split
the field in 6th in the early stages of the Oliver. Guys Reward was
just off Bim Bam’s flank in 7th.
As they reached the top of the Indiana Downs stretch, Lost Aptitude
began to fold under pressure,. Hudston
Steele made a quick move into contention while Guys reward faded badly.
Lonesome Street was just off the lead in fourth as they came into the stretch.
Bim Bam never fired, retreating to the back of the pack. Hudson Steele gallantly stuck his nose in
front until Mister Mardi Gras closed from the clouds inhaling the Pletcher
gelding to take the Oliver Stakes. Our
Douglas closed for second, but was dq’d for bumping into several horses, Hudson
Steele was moved up to 2nd. Lonesome Street flattened out to finish
Little did we know, Hudson Steele
was on the verge of becoming a star. He made
his next start in the $150,000 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park. The Pletcher colt
looked like a “Man Of Steele” destroying the field of talented 3 year olds by 2
Pletcher gave the Johannesburg
gelding nearly 10 months off before shipping him to the sunny skies and sandy
beaches of Florida. Hudson Steele made his first start of the season and his first start as a 4
year old in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. Steele wouldn’t disappoint, he
won the race by an easy 1 ¼, defeating his former Oliver Stakes foe Guys
His next start in 2011 was in the
grade III Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park. Hudson got caught in traffic
causing him to alter course late in the race, still he ran on with great energy
and heart just being denied by a dirty neck, losing to the tough New York bred,
This year, Hudson Steele has been
nothing short of spectacular. He crushed an over-night stakes at Pimlico to
start his season off. He made his next start in the grade II Dixie Stakes on
Preakness day at Pimlico. Jockey Javier
Castellano asked Hudson Steele to run at the top of the stretch, he answered
the call of his jock as he displayed an explosive turn of foot to score by 2 ½ lengths.
In a mere 5 hours Hudson Steele
will be attempting to win the grade I Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes. He’s
proven he prefers to sing his song on the big stages like Pimlico and Belmont
over the smaller Karaoke style tracks like Indiana Downs. Hudson better have
paid attention in his voice lessons or he will get sent away quicker than a
contestant on American Idol. This field is loaded with graded stakes winner,
yet Hudson Steele is the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Former triple crown participant
Brilliant Speed is looking for his first win since his score in the grade III
Saranac Stakes at Saratoga. John Velazquez retains the mount and is hoping to
rebound from his 3rd place finish in the grade I Turf Classic. He is
the 3-1 second choice on the morning line.
Shug McGaughey sends out the 7-2
third choice, Boisterous. Boisterous is coming off of an impressive victory on the
Belmont turf in the grade III Fort Marcy stakes. He’s in great form, but he seems to do his
best running on a soft or yielding turf. Jockey Alan Garcia might be doing a
rain dance in the jocks room prior to the race.
Mike Maker and Rosie Napravnik
team up together on Papaw Bodie. Papaw
Bodie comes out of the same race Brilliant Speed comes out of, but Bodie seems
to have a bigger excuse. Joe Bravo
nursed Little Mike to an easy early lead in the Turf Classic compromising Bodie’s
chances, still Bodie closed strong from 16 lengths out to finish 6 only beaten 4
From Indiana Downs to Belmont
Stakes Day, Hudson Steele shows that no matter where you’ve been or where you’re
going all it takes is a little talent, a
little hope, and a little heart to win in the present.