Sagamore Farm’s Recruiting Ready extended his win streak to three with his second straight stakes victory, leading from gate to wire to capture the eighth running of the $200,000 Maker’s Mark Chick Lang for 3-year-olds at historic Pimlico Race Course Saturday.
Recruiting Ready ($7.40), second choice at 5-2 in a field of eight sophomores, ran six furlongs in 1:10.35 over a muddy main track. It was 3 ¾ lengths back to Aquamarine in second, three-quarters of a length ahead of 6-5 favorite and multiple stakes winner Three Rules.
Triple Crown-nominated Recruiting Ready improved to 2-0 lifetime at Pimlico, where he romped in his unveiling last May by 10 ¼ lengths. In his two subsequent starts he ran second to Classic Empire was placed fourth after finishing second behind Gunnevera in graded stakes. Classic Empire, the 2-year-old champion of 2016, and Gunnevera were set to run later Saturday in the 142nd Preakness Stakes (G1).
The Chick Lang was the third win of the afternoon for jockey Horacio Karamanos, who sent Recruiting Ready to the front from Post 7 and raced through a quarter-mile in 22.98 seconds and a half in 45.96 chased by 15-1 long shot Bobby Abu Dhabi. Recruiting Ready turned for home and front and steadily expanded his lead down the stretch while Aquamarine and Three Rules each rallied late.
Following a 10th-place finish in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man in January at Gulfstream Park to open his 3-year-old campaign, Recruiting Ready got a short break and was cut back to sprint distances, where he has reeled off three consecutive wins including the Bachelor Stakes April 13 at Oaklawn Park last time out.
Sagamore Farm in Reisterstown, Md., just a 20-minute drive from Pimlico, dates back to 1933 when the late Alfred G. Vanderbilt was given the 530-acre property by his mother on his 21st birthday. It served as the home of multiple champions, most notably Hall of Famer Native Dancer, a winner of 21 of 22 career starts, including the 1953 Preakness. Sagamore was purchased by Under Armor founder Kevin Plank in 2007.
Makers Mark Chick Lang Stakes Quotes
Winning Trainer Horacio DePaz (Recruiting Ready): “It’s a big significance for myself because I just started training. Having Kevin [Plank] and being in Baltimore here, it means a lot for us to be able to win a race like this for him.
“The horse does best when he’s on the lead. We kind of let him free run a little bit. If you take too much hold of him, he really isn’t going to settle. He’s a strong horse. I was surprised those other horses went with him, but I was comfortable with where he was at the whole way around.
“He’s learning to run now. He settles a little bit and he’s making that run at the end. We will definitely keep him sprinting for now.
“We’ll see how he comes back off of this. He’s also been campaigned pretty hard, so I want to take care of him and maybe focus on Saratoga or something. But we’ll see, everything is open.”
Winning Jockey Horacio Karamanos (Recruiting Ready): “He gave me a nice kick at the top of the stretch and was very strong today. He’s a really good horse who ran against some of the best in the country last year. We are 3-for-3 together, so I think we’re a good match.”
Jockey Luis Saez (beaten favorite Three Rules, 3rd); “The trip was all right. The horse ran OK.”
Source: Maryland Jockey Club