When Scooter Hughes took over the training of Rahystrada in the middle of 2008, he had no idea that was the beginning of a longtime partnership.
“There is no way you could have forecast that,” said Hughes, who will send Rahystrada to the post in Thursday’s 19th running of the $100,000 Sycamore (G3) at 1½ miles on the grass. “He’s pretty special and still performing at a high level.”
Owned by Robert Courtney Jr., Rahystrada has compiled a record of
45-14-5-8 for earnings of $1,381,750. Eleven of those victories have
come with Hughes, six of them in stakes of which five were Grade 3s.
“When he won the Arlington Handicap for the third time this summer as
a 9-year-old, that was probably the biggest highlight,” Hughes said.
Rahystrada has not raced since the Arlington Million (G1) on Aug. 17.
“We were going to run in the race at Kentucky Downs (the Grade 3
Kentucky Cup Turf on Sept. 14), but he was having a skin problem,”
Hughes said. “He never got sick but was just not right, so we skipped
the race. But he is doing well now and hopefully he will put on a show.”
Leandro Goncalves has the riding assignment Thursday on Rahystrada, who finished fourth in last year’s Sycamore.