Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin hopes patience will pay off with
Rattlesnake Bridge, a 5-year-old who is targeting the Westchester after winning a
Park optional claimer by a head March 30, his first start in almost 17 months.
Owned by Nicholas Brady’s Mill House,
Bridge is a stakes winner who was second in
the 2011 Grade 1 Travers. The son of Tapit went to the sidelines after
finishing ninth in that year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
In his comeback,
Bridge stalked the pace, took the lead nearing the quarter pole, and defeated Rightfully So following a lengthy battle.
Rattlesnake Bridge breezed four furlongs on the
Belmont training track in 48.60 seconds in company with Cicada winner Elghayoor.
“The crazy thing is he never had any surgery,” said McLaughlin.
“That says a lot about Mill House. We tried to give him time off, he
bruised a cannon bone, we brought
him back, he bruised a cannon bone, we brought him back. It’s nice that
they were patient, and he’s doing great.”
McLaughlin acknowledged that
Rattlesnake Bridge will have to avoid a “bounce” and handle graded stakes competition in the Westchester, which he is using as a prep for
Belmont’s Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 27.
“We’re a little concerned about [it being his second race off
the layoff], and it’s a step up in class,” said McLaughlin. “We’re
pointing for the Met Mile. It’s a Grade
1 and is an important race to win to become a valuable stallion. So,
how do we get there? This has worked out well, four weeks and four
weeks. This will only help him, considering the 16 months off. We’re not
just training him into it. Let’s race him.”