(Charles Town, WV) – In his most recent start, the speedy Rush Now gave rising 3-year-old star Bandbox all he could handle in the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park.
Off that gutsy second-place effort, Rush Now looms a dangerous force Saturday night in the $100,000 Blue & Gold, a seven-furlong stakes race for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. The Blue & Gold, which drew a field of seven, is one of the main supporting stakes on the undercard of the Grade 3, $1 million Charles Town Classic.
Rush Now, a son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, was always cut out to be a good horse. After winning the Dover Stakes last October at Delaware Park, trainer Tony Dutrow ambitiously entered him in the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) at Delta Downs. After stalking the pace, Rush Now, however, could not sustain his bid in the stretch and finished seventh.
He followed that with a last-place finish in the Count Fleet at Aqueduct, a stakes race that included the eventual winner of the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby (Pants on Fire), the Grade 3 Bay Shore (J J’s Lucky Train) and runner-up in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial (Arthur’s Tale).
At the time, Dutrow didn’t know how strong the race was and grew concerned about his horse. He dropped Rush Now into a $40,000 claiming race at Laurel Park, and the colt walloped a short field by eight lengths. With his confidence re-established, Dutrow ran Rush Now in the Private Terms and watched him turn in a very impressive performance, finishing second behind a horse who was being pointed toward the Preakness Stakes before being sidelined with a soft tissue injury.
“He had run two pretty poor races, and I was concerned if the horse was any good or not,” Dutrow said. “When he came back and ran good again in the Private Terms, I was feeling better about the horse. Maybe it took running against lesser horses for $40,000 to help him get his confidence. Looking back, I’m glad he wasn’t claimed that day. You take some chances in the horse business and sometimes it pays off for you.”
Winning the Blue & Gold will be no easy task. Loranger Native, who has made all four of his career starts in Louisiana for trainer Michael Stidham, is coming off an excellent third-place finish as the beaten favorite in the Gentilly Stakes on the turf Feb. 26 at the Fair Grounds.
The race was the first time around two turns for the gelded son of Good and Tough and confirmed his ability shown in an earlier stakes score against Louisiana-breds as a 2-year-old.
“We were experimenting with our horse — his first time going two turns at a mile and a sixteenth and first time on the turf,” Stidham said. “It was asking a lot of him, and he’s going to drop back to seven furlongs, and that may be his best distance, and we’re going to take a shot in open company.”
Loranger Native does have experience running two turns at seven furlongs, having done so in a stakes race in February at Delta Downs. He finished second by a neck and was 4½ lengths clear of the third-place horse.
“That night, when he ran, he was really impressive,” Stidham said. “He closed strong to just miss getting up in the last couple of jumps.”
Diski Dance, trained by Cathal Lynch, enters the Blue & Gold off a second-place finish in his most recent start as the beaten favorite in an allowance at Laurel Park. In his prior two starts, he finished second in the Fred Capossela Stakes at Aqueduct and second in the Dancing Count, also at Laurel.
Gator’s Choice, trained by John Robb, won a 6½-furlong third-level allowance by a nose in his most recent start March 24 at Charles Town. In his race prior to that, he beat a good allowance field by 7½ lengths at Laurel.
Pick Four, a recent allowance winner at Tampa Bay Downs, and Go Maire Tu, who won a claiming race March 2 at Charles Town in his most recent start, complete the field.
Black N Beauty, fifth in the Holy Bull (G3) behind Kentucky Derby contender Dialed In, and ninth in the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) was also entered. At the close of entries, trainer Dale Romans had not made a decision on whether the colt would run.
$100,000 Blue & Gold S.
April 16, 2011
Race 8 – Post time 9:15pm EST
3YO, 7 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Gator’s Choice, Oliver Castillo, 116, John J. Robb
2. Black N Beauty, Rajiv Maragh, 116, Dale L. Romans
3. Rush Now, Travis Dunkelberger, 114, Anthony W. Dutrow
4. Pick Four, Gerald Almodovar, 114, Ernest M. Oare
5. Diski Dance, Kendrick Carmouche, 114, Cathal A. Lynch
6. Go Maire Tu, Gustavo Larrosa, 114, Ashlie Howell
7. Loranger Native, John Velasquez, 114, Michael Stidham
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Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, a Penn National Gaming property, is a world-class entertainment venue offering visitors nearly 5,000 slot machines, 87 table games, 30 poker tables, live and simulcast horse racing and a wide range of food and beverage choices, including Zen Noodle, the 350-seat Epic Buffet and the gourmet Final Cut Steakhouse. The historic Charles Town Races has hosted live thoroughbred racing since 1933 and began offering gaming to visitors in 1997. Conveniently located about an hour from the Baltimore and Washington DC beltways, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is one of the region’s fastest growing gaming and entertainment destinations with more than four million visitors each year.
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