Dubb’s Sage Valley pressed the pace before bursting away to a
convincing score in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) at
Pimlico Race Course.
by Rudy Rodriquez, the son of Discreet Cat left the gate as the narrow
betting favorite at 2.30-1 in the six-furlong sprint on the main track.
Hardened Wildcat, a very close second choice at 2.40-1, rallied to
finish second, 2 ¼ lengths behind the winner. Laurie’s Rocket took
by John Velazquez, Sage Valley ($6.60) ran the six furlongs in 1:10.51
while registering his fourth straight victory and second stakes in a
row. He won the Mr Nasty Stakes at Aqueduct last November.
MARYLAND SPRINT HANDICAP QUOTES
Rudy Rodriguez (trainer, Sage Valley, winner)
– “The race came up pretty tough. I was looking for a race in New York,
but I’m glad I came to this one. He ran great. He’s a nice horse; he’s
lightly raced. He’s had some issues so we have to take our time with him
and he’ll perform. Johnny (Velazquez) rode him nicely.”
John Velazquez (jockey, Sage Valley, winner)
– “We had a perfect post position and we had a perfect trip. I thought
there was plenty of speed in the race and if I could sit just off the
lead and make a run down the lane that would be perfect. He responded
just the way a horse should.”
Chad Brown (trainer, Hardened Wildcat, 2nd)
– “He was a little far behind, but that's him. He's a come-from-behind
sprinter. He made his move. The winner was the best horse today. We were
just second-best. He's a nice horse. We'll just get him back home and
evaluate him and pick another nice spot. I was proud of the way the
horse ran. I'm disappointed he didn't win, but he did run his race. He
was just second-best."
Javier Castellano (jockey, Hardened Wildcat, 2nd)
– “The trainer told me to sit behind the speed duel and let him try and
come from behind. I tried to cut the corner but I couldn’t and lost a
lot of ground on the final turn. I was just second-best today.”