Out of action since January, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Classic Rock made a triumphant return to action in Friday’s $75,000 Roar Stakes at Gulfstream Park, scoring by four lengths to notch his third straight victory.
“He ran great. It was a really nice comeback. He’s so smart and cool,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said.
The 3-year-old son of Maclean’s Music, who shipped to Santa Anita after winning back-to-back starts during the Championship Meet at Gulfstream, was expected to vie for favoritism in the seven-furlong San Vicente Feb. 12 before coming down with a virus a week before the
Classic Rock broke through with a 2 ¼-length maiden victory at Gulfstream Dec. 3 and scored right back with a front-running performance Jan. 6 to earn a trip to the West Coast that ended in disappointment.
The $180,000 yearling purchase at the 2015 Keeneland September Sale certainly didn’t disappoint in Friday’s return, rating outside dueling pacesetters Coronado Again and Field Trip along the backstretch before moving to the lead on the turn and drawing away through the stretch.
While winning his stakes debut, Classic Rock ran seven furlongs in 1:23.11 to give jockey Michael Ritvo his first victory since recently coming out of a 16-month retirement of sorts.
“I thought I hung up my tack for good. Over the last few months I’d been getting on horses and feeling really good….been kind of inching back,” said the 22-year-old son of Classic Rock’s trainer and Gulfstream Park President Tim Ritvo. “It’s nice to be back. It’s a fantastic feeling, and getting on horses like this makes it feel even better.”
Michael Ritvo, who rode the first of 199 winners March 23, 2014 at Gulfstream, has been riding exclusively for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and his mother’s stable. Although he has breezed Classic Rock in the morning, he rode the Kentucky-bred colt for the first time Friday.
“He’s a monster, a real monster, and he did it really easy,” he said. “When I was passing those horses I said, ‘If he’s got the drive and he’s got the endurance, we’re just going to go right by these guys.’ because he was just pushing on every step.”
Classic Rock, who was sent to post as the 6-5 favorite in a field of nine 3-year-olds, debuted at Saratoga Sept. 4, finishing ninth after a five-wide trip, before chasing the pace at Keeneland Oct. 19 and finishing fourth behind Uncontested, a subsequent stakes winner, and Untrapped, who went on to finish second in the Risen Star (G2) and third in the Rebel (G2).
Chatiment and jockey Miguel Vasquez finished second in the Roar, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Katalox and Luca Panici.
Source: Gulfstream Park