National Racing Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen ran 1-2-3 in the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes on Friday night, which surprised no one. However, it was the horse that won of the three entered, Long Range Toddy, who put a jolt into the Remington Park fans and horseplayers.
This 2-year-old colt by Take Charge Indy, out of the Unbridled's Song mare Pleasant Song, was the longest price of the three Asmussen entrants at 10-1 odds and was still able to pull off the upset. He hit the wire first for Willis Horton Racing, LLC, of Marshall, Ark., holding off stablemates Cajun Firecracker, the 4-5 post-time favorite and 9-5 Tobacco Road, who ran second and third, respectively. Both of those horses were coming out of tough stakes company while Long Range Toddy, under second-leading rider here, Richard Eramia, was racing in a stakes race for his first time. He was making the jump up in class after winning by daylight in a maiden allowance race at a mile.
Cajun Firecracker and Tobacco Road had both competed against 2-year-olds that performed well in Friday's first day of the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs. Tobacco Road ran against Knicks Go and Signalman who were second- and third-place finishers respectively in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Cajun Firecracker competed against Well Defined, who went off 9-1 in the Juvenile.
It may have surprised the betting public that Asmussen's longshot in the field was the winner, but it didn't surprise Eramia, who had a riding triple Friday.
“He broke really sharp; we really like this horse,” Eramia said. “Last time he won easy at a mile. He went back to seven-eighths and I think he was ready to win. He's a really good horse. He's the kind of horse you can really do whatever you want with.”
The top three riders at Remington Park also finished 1-2-3 in the race, Eramia being the second leading jockey. Top jock David Cabrera was aboard Cajun Firecracker and third-leading rider Ramon Vazquez had the reins of Tobacco Road.
Long Range Toddy, who was bred in Kentucky by Horton, turned back to seven furlongs Friday night and didn't miss a step, stopping the timer in 1:23.34 seconds over the fast track. The time was well off the stakes mark set by Caleb's Posse (1:22.22) in 2010. He went on to win the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in 2011.
Lullaby Bling broke on top, but Long Range Toddy quickly took over the lead after a half mile. The early fractions of the race were :22.46 for the quarter-mile, :45.87 for the half-mile and 1:10.49 for six furlongs. Long Range Toddy finished one length ahead of Cajun Firecracker with Tobacco Road another length behind in third.
Asmussen assistant trainer Darren Fleming said Long Range Toddy has blossomed.
“Yeah, we're very happy about him winning,” Fleming said. “He's improved a lot since winning his maiden race. So, he earned it. He's been training sharp since his last race. We expected him to be on the lead. He's been a different horse since the mile win.”
Long Range Toddy earned $60,000 for his efforts to give him two wins from three starts and a lifetime bankroll of $81,125. Asmussen's barn also took down second and third purse money of $20,000 and $11,000 for a total take of $91,000 in the race.
It was the fifth time Asmussen has won the Clever Trevor Stakes. He also won with King Henny in 2012, Officer Prado in 2011, Grand Slam Andre in 2009 and King Gulch in 2008. Asmussen had never run first, second and third in the Clever Trevor Stakes, but he did run first and third in 2009 with Grand Slam Andre and Western Forum.
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