Sticksstatelydude Steps Out on Center Stage in Breeders' Futurity
September 30, 2015 09:47am
The coming-out party for Sticksstatelydude was supposed to be the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga on Sept. 7. Because of a temperature, it did not happen.

“There were allergies up there and I had to walk him for four days,” trainer Greg Burchell said. “He has moved forward from that and had a good work (:47.60 for a half-mile) at Churchill last Friday and galloped out well.”

Owned by the estate of Alvin “Stick” Haynes, John Ferris, Brad Ward and his wife Beth’s Pack Pride Racing, Sticksstatelydude will step out on center stage Saturday in the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1), a “Win and You’re In” race for the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run here Oct. 31.

Sticksstatelydude represents half of the stable for Burchell, who grew up in Central Kentucky and will turn 55 in December.

“I have been around the track all my life with just a handful of horses and went to grade school and middle school here with Kiaran (McLaughlin),” Burchell said. “It is a dream come true just to run at that level. To win this and go on to the Breeders’ Cup and then maybe the Triple Crown campaign would be the icing on the cake.”

Sticksstatelydude debuted on June 27 at Churchill Downs, finishing second to Mayor Mac for trainer Greg Foley.

“I waited until the last night at Churchill to run six (furlongs),” Burchell said. “All the big guys had first-timers in there … Dale (Romans), Al (Stall), Bret (Calhoun) and Steve Asmussen. He handled the big crowd, the lights, everything fine.

“He’s never had a bad day. I never run my 2-year-olds in the spring over there, but he jumped through all the hoops the right way.”

Sticksstatelydude was 8-1 in the debut, but in his second start, he was even money at Saratoga.

“He was a big tout horse and he ran in Kiaran’s name, which may have cost me a few points (in the odds),” Burchell said. “But he had been working well and really was touted.”

The son of First Dude did not disappoint in winning by two lengths in a field of 10 going six furlongs with Ready Dancer running second and Isotherm, who won Saturday’s Pilgrim (G3) finishing fourth.

“He took the worst of it and was next to last at the half-mile pole,” Burchell said. “He ran a big race.”

Off that performance, the Hopeful was penciled in as the next step. Burchell brought him back to Churchill Downs where the colt has had two works for the 1 1/16-mile Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity.

“I think the two turns will help him as much as anything,” Burchell said of Saturday’s race. “He has a good cruising speed that should keep him close so he won’t have that much to do late.”

Source: Keeneland Association


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