With no one to pressure her on the front end, e Five Racing Thoroughbreds' Rushing Fall made it look easy in Saturday's Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes. The 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready had a two-length lead early, fended off a challenge from Daddy Is A Legend around the turn and cruised under the wire a 2 1/4-length winner as the 1-2 favorite. Ridden by Javier Castellano for trainer Chad Brown, Rushing Fall completed a mile over Belmont's firm turf course in a sharp 1:31.67.
“Brilliant performance, probably her best to date,” Brown said. “She's nearly unbeaten. One of the greatest turf mares I've trained, for sure. She's earned that. When Daddy is a Legend [No. 1] tackled her on the turn, I was concerned there for a moment because I knew it would be a real battle. I have a lot of respect for that horse. Thankfully, Rushing Fall showed her best stuff today and was able to fend her off and kick clear. I don't use the word brilliant too often, but it was a real brilliant performance.”
The six-strong field broke from the gate very evenly, and Castellano allowed Rushing Fall to use her natural speed to put her in the leading position down the backstretch of the one-turn turf mile. Guiding her over to the rail, Castellano took a long hold on Rushing Fall to lead the field by two lengths through fractions of :23.91 and :47.21.
Daddy Is A Legend was second early, pulling off the rail to allow Bellavais in third to dart inside. Capla Temptress and Environs followed, with Beau Recall in her customary position at the rear of the field.
Rushing Fall felt the pressure from Daddy Is A Legend in the far turn, cutting the margin to just a half-length between the two. Castellano had yet to ask Rushing Fall for her best, however, and the filly spurted away from her rivals as soon as he gave her her cue. Cruising under the wire, Rushing Fall won by 2 1/4 lengths over the late-running Beau Recall, while Daddy Is A Legend was just a head back in third. Bellavais, Environs, and Capla Temptress completed the order of finish, and Got Stormy was scratched.
“She's so good,” Castellano said. “I'm very lucky to be able to ride the horse, and for Chad Brown, who has given me these opportunities. She's a super-fast horse. She broke out of the gate but she was able to settle down in the beginning. It's amazing the way she finished. She finished really well. She was 1:31 [1:31.67 final time] and they tried to challenge her, but she's so good.”
Bred in Kentucky by Fred W. Hertrich III and John D. Fielding, Rushing Fall was a $320,000 yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select sale. She has now won eight of her nine career starts, including four Grade 1 races, and boasts earnings of over $1.9 million.
“She's just so versatile; the different distances she can run and her running style” continued Brown. “She doesn't need the lead but she has enough speed she can really hurt you. A horse like this does not come around very often.
“I want to speak to [owner] Bob Edwards but I feel the logical thing to do is get her back to 1 1/8 miles in the[Grade 1] Diana.”
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