Race of the Week 2017

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Zipse At The Track

Rydilluc - ously Good on the Grass


Give a good horse the tactical advantage, and he will beat you every time, and Rydilluc is a very good horse. Taking full advantage of a picture-perfect ride by Edgar Prado, Rydilluc sprinted home down the Penn National stretch to score his fourth impressive turf win in as many tries. This time it was for the big time purse of $500,000 put together by Penn National. The large Penn Mile purse was built in hopes of creating a race with real star appeal. Mission accomplished, for there is not a bigger young turf star in the United States than Rydilluc.

Sent off as the 8-5 choice in the field of eight, the strapping bay son of Medaglia d’Oro gained an ideal stalking position behind the 100-1, Yougotthatgoinforu. As the huge long shot carved out moderate early fractions, Rydilluc and Prado were more than happy to track in second, while all his main competitors stayed farther behind early. As the field came careening off the far turn, Rydilluc had effortlessly wrestled the lead from the overmatched pacesetter. A pair of talented Todd Pletcher colts, Charming Kitten and Jack Milton, had kicked in their rallies to menace at the head of the stretch, but from there, it was simply a sprint to the wire, and no one was going to catch Rydilluc.

Turning a close race into a rather suspense-less affair, the Gary Contessa charge uncoiled his impressive large stride down the lane to surge to an insurmountable advantage at the sixteenth pole. Coasting to the wire, Rydilluc kept the two Pletcher colts at bay by an easier than the winning margin would suggest ¾ of a length victory. Final time for the flat mile in the inaugural edition of the Penn Mile was a sharp 1:33.99, meaning Rydilluc had decided things with a racehorse final quarter of :22 and change.

In winning for the fourth time in six lifetime starts, Rydilluc rebounded from a good but ultimately fourth place performance in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes. That result took him off the Kentucky Derby trail, and likely returned him to a career on his best surface. Before the Blue Grass, Rydilluc had dominated three consecutive grass races, including a big win over Charming Kitten in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes. His second stakes victory, earned today, came at the expense of the same foe, as that one edged his stablemate, Jack Milton for the place.

Back on turf, it would be hard to say just how good Rydilluc may become. In its first-ever running, the Penn Mile was not eligible to be graded, but the field it attracted was likely the best of any three-year-old race run on the grass so far this year, and Rydilluc handled it like a pro. With the division heating up this summer in places like Colonial Downs and Arlington Park, Rydilluc has moved to the head of the division, and looms the one to beat in several other lucrative turf races coming up. Whether or not he stretches out to longer distances is yet to be determined, but at this point, he certainly looks like a real candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Mile this fall. It would appear the future is wide open for Rydilluc. 


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Older Comments about Rydilluc - ously Good on the Grass...

It's great to see tracks presenting new stakes that will receive graded accolades in the future. Nice win by Rydilluc, but I felt it was the perfect setup. Don't be surprised to see Noble Tune turn the tables in the summer.
Great day of racing put on by Dan Silver, Director of racing at Penn National. Rydilluc was an easy winner in what should be a graded stakes in 2014.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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