Colebrook did indeed saddle the son of Violence in the March 4 one-turn mile stakes for 3-year-olds, but that was it. Immediately afterward, as the horses headed to the racetrack, he sprinted out of the Big A. He hopped into a waiting cab for a quick drive to nearby Kennedy Airport for a flight to the Midwest to saddle Scoobie Quando later that night in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park.
Of course, while he was doing all that, one of the weirdest Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve preps of the year unfolded as a huge field of 14 battled over a sealed, muddy track and despite the obstacle of a loose horse on the lead in the stretch and a few adventurous trips, Andrew and Rania Warren’s Raise Cain took charge in the stretch and posted a lopsided 7 1/2-length victory over Slip Mahoney — as a hurried but overjoyed Colebrook watched the 23.50-1 upset from his cell phone in the cab.
“It was a hit-and-run, my man,” Colebrook said by phone while exiting the car.
The victory was the second in six starts for the bay colt and came on the heels of a fifth in the Leonatus Stakes on the synthetic Tapeta Footings surface at Turfway Park and a second before that in the Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds.
“It was a big-time race,” Colebrook said about the bay colt out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Belle bred in Kentucky by Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds. “He always acted like he had it in him, but he never had the right setup. And man, what a ride [by Jose Lezcano]. It was poetry in motion.”
At a one-turn mile distance in early March, the Gotham is the shortest of the remaining run for the roses preps, yet it provided Raise Cain with 50 qualifying points to assure him of a spot in the field for the opening leg of the Triple Crown.
“You have to consider him,” Colebrook said about the May 6 Kentucky Derby, “because distance shouldn’t be a problem. He’s so laid back. He’s getting, better and better. He’ll come home to Kentucky and we’ll think about the Wood [Memorial Stakes April 8 at Aqueduct] or Blue Grass [Stakes April 8 at Keeneland].”
Raise Cain (Eclipse Sportswire)
The complexion of the Gotham changed shortly after the break when Howgreatisnate stumbled and jockey J. D. Acosta fell off. Both horse and jockey came away from the mishap fine as the riderless Howgreatisnate gave chase from the outside and reached the front as the field entered the final turn, creating a problem for Eric Cancel on the early leader, Carmel Road.
“The loose horse made my horse go faster than I wanted,” said Cancel, whose horse faded to eighth as the 9-2 second choice.
The trip was relatively smoother for Lezcano and Raise Cain. Though they checked off heels while moving up along the inside approaching the quarter pole in the overflow field, Lezcano guided Raise Cain out a few paths and he motored past everyone including the loose horse, who was second under the wire.
Raise Cain, bought for $180,000 from the Warrendale Sales consignment at the 2021 Keeneland September yearling sale, covered the mile in 1:38.09 and paid $49 for a $2 win bet.
Gold Square’s Slip Mahoney, who was making his stakes debut for trainer Brad Cox off a maiden win, will most likely return for the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial, which will not be a big ask for the son of Arrogate after he might have traveled 1 1/8 miles while breaking slowly and losing an acre of ground in rallying nine-wide from 13th.
“I don’t think he’ll have any problem stretching out after this,” said Joe Hardoon, racing manager for owner Al Gold. “I can’t complain about the way he closed after running so wide.”
Slip Mahoney received 20 points.
Seacrest Thoroughbreds of N. E.’s New York-bred General Banker was 1 1/2 lengths back in the third, giving a him a trio of third-place finishes in New York’s three Kentucky Derby preps. Trained by Jimmy Ferraro, the son of Central Banker picked up 15 points and now has 24.