Rahystrada shook free from a pack of
horses at the top of the stretch by going inside, found daylight there
and stormed home to a 1 ½ length win in the 7th running of the $500,000
Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs Saturday night.
became the first older horse to win the 1 3/16ths miles Turf Cup. The
first six “Cup” stakes were exclusively for three year olds, but this
year’s condition allowed for three and up. As a result, the stakes race
lost its graded status, but that didn’t deter jockey Sheldon Russell
and the winning connections from enjoying the moment.
biggest win of my life,” exclaimed Russell. “When I met with the
trainer and owner before the race and asked their advice, they said to
just trust the horse, and that the horse will know when it’s time. I
had good position in the first turn, caught some traffic in the second
turn, and when a hole opened up coming out of the turn, I just went for
Russell had a trio of other reasons to smile. He scored earlier in the card with wins aboard Alta Boy, Go Kid Go and Sondheim.
Reward was the pace setter through the three-quarters mark of the Turf
Cup before faultering in the stretch. The 4 year old Grand Reward colt
ran outside of Smart Bid nearly all that time as they dueled for the
lead. Rahystrada was sixth through the half and fifth before he made
The 7 year old Rahy gelding won for the first time in
eleven months and earned his eleventh lifetime triumph. Rahystrada was
coming off a pair of impressive outs though at Churchill Downs and
Tampa, and rose to the occasion over the Secretariat Turf Course.
really started firing at age five,” said trainer Byron “Scooter”
Hughes. “And he’s gotten better every year. He’s an easy shipper and I
thought he’d do well at this track.”
“I’m good friends with Mike
Matz,” said Rahystrada’s owner Robert Courtney,” So I asked him who
he’d recommend to ride my horse. Michael said Sheldon Russell was a
top notch rider and I’d say it was pretty good advice.”
The winner covered the race in 1:54.68 and paid $9.80 to win. Smart Bid took second and Dark Cove was third.
the $100,000 Edward P. Evans All Along Stakes (Gr. III), heavily
favored Aruna won the fourth time in her last five races for trainer
Graham Motion. The 4 year old Mr. Greeley filly took over from
frontrunning Baltimore Belle at the top of the stretch and went on to
win by 1 ½ lengths.