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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Past the Grandstand

Revolutionary is a big threat in the Donn

Revolutionary allw 615 X 400
Photo: Coglianese Photos

Perhaps the most magical racetrack in North America, Saratoga is a portal to the past and a gateway to the future. Resting on the edge of Saratoga Springs, New York, Saratoga is not only a staple for the town; it is a staple for the sport of horse racing. The ghosts of racing greats – the likes of Kelso, Man O’ War, Native Dancer, Ruffian, and Secretariat – linger at the Graveyard of Champions, adding to the rich history of the iconic racetrack. In addition, “The Spa” has served as the launching pad for a multitude of champions, which attracts much attention the track’s numerous maiden races for two-year-olds each summer.

Any impressive performance from a talented two-year-old at Saratoga often lands a horse on watch lists, with hopes focused upon the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), several months and more than 800 miles away. But usually, only the outstanding maiden winners – such as those that draw away to win by a wide margin – land themselves a position on watch lists, leaving the horses that ran well but did not find the winner’s circle to frequently be abandoned.

Such is not the case for WinStar Farm’s Revolutionary.
Despite not winning his debut at Saratoga on closing day in 2012, Revolutionary earned himself a place on my list of horses to watch. As he broke from the gate, Revolutionary was blitzed by rivals and forced to check in the early stages of the five and one-half-furlong maiden special weight. The short distance of the race made it difficult for Revolutionary to regain his momentum, but despite going wide around the turn prior to running greenly down the stretch, the colt closed in remarkable style to finish a game third.

Revolutionary would go on to break his maiden in his fourth start, coasting to a magnificent 8 ½-length victory that was just 0.73 seconds slower than the track record over Aqueduct’s inner track. Pointed towards the Kentucky Derby, Revolutionary impressed the racing world with game wins in the Withers Stakes (gr. III) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II).

Sent off as
the second choice in the Kentucky Derby, Revolutionary encountered a slightly rough trip but finished well to be third behind Orb. The notion that Revolutionary would make his mark on the remainder of the Triple Crown and 2013 racing season was a popular opinion, but after a fifth-place effort in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Revolutionary was sent to WinStar Farm to rest for the remainder of the year. Stabled in the airy training barn at the Kentucky farm, Revolutionary became more mature, blossoming into a stronger horse.


Sent to Pletcher’s stable at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, Revolutionary was prepared to commence his four-year-old campaign. He worked progressively toward his 2014 debut, recording eight official works at the training center from mid-November until his return.

On January 11, Revolutionary stepped into a post parade for the first time since the Belmont, the Florida sun glinting off his dark coat. Just four others aligned to face him in the one-mile allowance optional claiming, but Revolutionary was by no means taking on lowly horses. Not only were two of the horses he was competing against that day – Falling Sky and Honorable Dillon – graded stakes winners, but he was also contending with the 2012 Florida Derby (gr. I) runner-up, Reveron.

Breaking from the rail, Revolutionary settled in fourth as the small field galloped down the chute. Down the backstretch, the dark bay colt raced about four lengths off the leader, but with a half mile remaining, he began to pick up the pace, cutting into the distance that separated him from the front-running Falling Sky. Abandoning the rail for an outside rally, Revolutionary held a spot in third all the way around the far turn. At the top of the stretch, however, he found a new gear as he drew even with the frontrunners. Using every ounce of determination he had, Revolutionary drew clear within the final furlong, edging away without any urging from Javier Castellano to win.

Today, Revolutionary will jump back into grade one company in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park. His most intimidating competitor is certainly Will Take Charge, the 2013 Champion Three-Year-Old Male, who will be making his first start since capturing the Clark Handicap (gr. I) at the end of November. Other top contenders include the multiple graded stakes winner River Seven, who enters the Donn on a three-race winning streak, and impressive Hal’s Hope Stakes (gr. III) winner Lea.

Revolutionary will need to improve upon what was already a notable performance last out, but he has always been a classy horse. A big race in the Donn could set him up for many more big races this year. This afternoon will be a major test of his ability, but should he perform well, he could be on his way to being one of the top older males of 2014.


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About Mary Cage


Mary with champion Classic Empire

Mary Cage, a 21-year-old avid fan of horse racing, has been around horses all her life, having owned, shown, and judged them for as long as she can remember. She began writing her own horse racing blog, Past the Grandstand, in August 2011 and has since been published in America's Horse, American Racehorse and the Appaloosa Journal, as well as with the websites of The Blood-Horse and The Equine Chronicle. She has also had photos published with Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Daily News. In addition, she works as one of the social media coordinators for the Texas Thoroughbred Association and has interned at WinStar Farm with a marketing focus - with projects involving photography, videography, giving tours, data entry, etc. 

In her personal horse experience, Mary has been around horses all her life and has won several Appaloosa National Champion and Reserve World Champion titles in the show ring. She has also worked as a hotwalker and groom.

Mary has always aspired to have a career with horses and since her love for horse racing began, she has dreamed of pursuing a career in the Thoroughbred racing industry, possibly as a writer/photographer and marketing/communications specialist. She is currently attending the University of North Texas, where she is a journalism major with a concentration in advertising and a minor in marketing. With this blog, she hopes to show readers horse racing through the eyes of a young fan and transport you to some of racing's biggest events through her photos and words.

University of Louisville College of Business Equine Program

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