Recruiting Ready punches ticket to Keeneland’s Phoenix Stakes

September 17, 2019 11:02am
Recruiting Ready punches ticket to Keeneland’s Phoenix Stakes
Photo: Lauren King/Gulfstream Park

Defeated handily in his first try at the Grade 1 level, Recruiting Ready returned a winner last Friday at Churchill Downs, where he topped an allowance optional claiming sprint for older horses — it was worth a lucrative $105,000 — and earned another try at stakes company.

Hunter Rankin, president of owner Sagamore Farm, said connections “wanted to try to get him some confidence back” after Recruiting Ready’s sixth-place effort in the July 27 Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar.

“I don’t know what happened in California,” Rankin said, with the 5-year-old son of Algorithms sent off as the betting favorite. “Numbers-wise and everything else, he just didn’t run like himself. I don’t know if the ship got him or the racetrack or what.”

Back at trainer Stanley Hough’s Churchill base, Recruiting Ready ran to his odds-on favoritism, setting the fractions in a 2 1/2-length victory over a field of seven that included other stakes-quality runners.

Keeneland’s Oct. 4 Phoenix, a Grade 2, $250,000 race at the same six-furlong distance, is Recruiting Ready’s next likely target.

“We’ve always thought he’s such a talented horse,” Rankin said. “He’s never had his day in the sun. I just hope for him that he gets it.”

Among Recruiting Ready’s likely Phoenix rivals is Promises Fulfilled, who won that race last season at age 3 to earn a "Win and You're In" trip to the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Multiple graded stakes-placed, Recruiting Ready did break through March 2 in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes (G3). This season, he also ran second in Belmont Park’s May 11 Runhappy and third in the June 7 True North (G2).

He Hate Me
, a 4-year-old Florida-bred for Sagamore Farm, scratched out of Recruiting Ready’s allowance flight at Churchill. Rankin said the gelded son of Algorithms will run instead in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 De Francis Dash at Laurel Park.

“He’s training very well,” Rankin said. “I thought he ran a great race last time. I thought he did all the running, and that horse picked up all the pieces.”

That horse is Bon Raison, who He Hate Me Finished second to in the Aug. 9 Tale of the Cat at Saratoga. The De Francis Dash will represent a rematch between those two while graded winners New York Central and Strike Power are expected to enter as well.


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