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Ron Ellis and Rail Trip Back Together Again

Rail Trip
The moment when trainer Ron Ellis puts the saddle on Rail Trip for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile there will be a feeling of accomplishment and pride after a long journey together and at times, apart. The Breeders’ Cup will be an accumulation of hard work, hardship, and perseverance for the unlikely duo. 


The Jay Em Ess Stable owned Rail Trip started his career in the barn of Ron Ellis. The gelding’s stardom shined bright from day one.  He broke his maiden stylishly under the faithful hands of Ellis’s go-to jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. He dominated the maiden field in his first career start at Hollywood Park while winning by some 3 1/2 lengths in a shocking time of 1:07.94. From that day on Ellis knew he had something special. 


Rail Trip under Valdivia Jr. went on to rip off 5 wins in a row at the age 3 and 4. He scored his first stakes victory in the Santana Mile at Santa Anita Park. He tasted defeat for the first time in the grade II Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park.  The son of Jump Start eventually rebounded to win the prestigious grade I Hollywood Gold Cup in only his second year of racing while defeating the likes of Life is Sweet, Bullsbay, and eventual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile victor, Dakota Phone.  After the Gold Cup he ran up against the best horses in the country in the grade I Pacific Classic. The Jump Start gelding ran his heart out but was narrowly defeated by Richard’s Kid and Einstein. 


Rail Trip sparkled early on as a 5 year old. He avenged his loss in the 2009 Mervyn Leroy Handicap with a dominating 3 ¼ length victory in the 2010 edition. Ellis had the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the back of his mind in 2010 especially after his easy victory in the grade II Californian stakes at the 9 furlong distance at Hollywood Park.  After a 2nd place finish in the 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup, Jay Em Ess moved their star to the east coast and out of the barn of a broken hearted and stunned Ron Ellis and into the barn of Richard Dutrow


I don’t know if it was the cold weather, the surfaces in New York, or just the fact he was away from his trainer and friend in Ellis, but Rail Trip was never the same in the Big Apple.  In nearly two years under Dutrow, Railtrip really never sniffed the winner’s circle. The gelding was eventually moved back into the welcoming arms of Ellis this past spring. 


Ellis brought Rail trip along slowly while making his return to the races in the grade III Los Angeles handicap at 6 furlongs where he reunited with Valdivia. This was the first time Rail trip had sprinted since the second start of his career. The gelding showed signs of life running 4th in the graded stake.  He came back to run second in an allowance race at Hollywood Park where he showed a nice turn of foot only losing by a ½ length in his second start back in the Ellis Barn. 


All the disappointment and adversity was put to rest in the grade II San Diego Handicap at Del Mar. Valdivia put the Ellis charge into the race early, stalking the pace of John Scott. The two battled through the stretch as Valdivia set the Jump Start gelding down and the “Trip” gave him all that he had showing his heart and grit while scoring the grade II victory by a gutsy ½ length.  All was right in the world, Rail Trip was back in Ellis’s barn and he was back in the winner’s circle. 


Rail Trip has taken on the best the west coast has to offer in his last two races with defeats to classic division leader Game On Dude, and Derby 3rd place finisher Dullahan. Rail Trip will appreciate the cut back in distance in the Mile and his tactical speed should put him in striking distance early. 


The Breeders’ Cup always has the feel-good stories, the under-dog, the forgotten one, and now it has a reunion story. I can think of nothing better than a trainer with the character of Ron Ellis teaming up with the heart of Rail Trip to score a Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile victory with a jockey as well liked as Jose Valdivia Jr!


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Older Comments about Ron Ellis and Rail Trip Back Together Again...

Hard not to like Rail Trip, especially back with Ellis ... I would not put it past him to run a big race in the Dirt Mile.

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Meet Scott Dick 















My journey into the sport of kings has been different than most. I do not boast a royal pedigree, and in fact, before my interest in horse racing, my family thought the Kentucky Derby was the only race of the year! I'm the son of a minor league baseball player and a homemaker, which doesn't exactly scream grade I winner.

My passion for the sport started about 8 years ago.I was watching as Funny Cide was making his triple crown run. The “Gutsy Gelding” had my eyes glued to the television with each of his triple crown races. After watching Funny Cide on TV. I decided to make a trip down to our local track, Indiana Downs.This would be an experience that would change my life.

I looked over the program, while having no idea what I was doing,I decided to put my 5 dollars on a horse named Apollonea. As the gates broke and the announcer began his race call, I heard the words Apollonea to the lead. My excitement grew as I watched my horse lead all the way around the track, eventually drawing to win by an easy five lengths. Apollonea paid 58.00 to win, I was hooked from that point on.

For the past 8 years my life has been horse racing.  I've tried to educate myself on every aspect of the sport and learn about it's past. The incredible run of the Super Filly Rachel Alexandra would also change my life. It was my intense passion and love for Rachel that would bring me to meet some of the greatest  people in the world. I owe a lot to Rachel and this sport for introducing me to such wonderful people.

I want this blog to show that Indiana Racing stacks up with any track, anywhere! It will also show what great value can be found in Indiana for the bettors, and not to mention, the incredible purses for the owners and trainers.

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