Sagamore Farm's Recruiting Ready was the open-length winner of Saturday's $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico, withstanding significant pace pressure early and then bursting clear in the stretch under Horacio Karamanos, giving the rider his third win on the card. The 3-year-old son of Algorithms covered six furlongs over the main track rated “muddy” in 1:10.35 for trainer Horacio DePaz, besting Aquamarine and Three Rules.
“He gave me a nice kick at the top of the stretch and was very strong today,” Karamanos said. “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.”
The speedy Recruiting Ready found himself in the midst of a three-way speed duel in the first 100 yards down the backstretch, surrounded by Aquamarine and Bobby Abu Dhabi on either side. Three Rules was relegated to fourth at the rail, with Proforma keeping him company in fifth. Recruiting Ready pulled ahead by a neck to set a first quarter fraction of 22.98 seconds, then continued to advance his lead out to a full length as he moved through a half-mile in 45.96 seconds.
“The horse does best when he's on the lead,” DePaz said. “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.”
Aquamarine settled back off the pace a bit in the far turn, but came back to cut up the rail and make a move in the stretch. Three Rules had to go wide around the turn, and struggled to make up any ground on the winner but just kept grinding the whole way. Recruiting Ready was long gone, however, running easily to his third win in a row in a manner reminiscent of his impressive maiden victory at Pimlico last year. Aquamarine held second over Three Rules, with Bobby Abu Dhabi fading to fourth.
“We'll see how he comes back off of this,” continued DePaz of Recruiting Ready. “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.”
Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm, Recruiting Ready was a $110,000 Keeneland September Yearling sale purchase, then did not meet his reserve at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-year-olds in training sale when bidding stopped at $240,000. The colt won spectacularly by 10 1/4 lengths in his 2-year-old debut, and earned several graded stakes placings but was unable to win again until March of his sophomore season. Now, he has compiled three wins in a row, and improved his overall record to 4-1-2 from 9 starts with earnings of over $300,000.
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