’Pico d’Oro’, ‘Crazy Beautiful’, take Runhappy Ellis Park Juvenile and Debutante

’Pico d’Oro’, ‘Crazy Beautiful’, take Runhappy Ellis Park Juvenile and Debutante
Sunday was Kids Day at Ellis Park.

HENDERSON, KY. (WFIE) - An extra furlong of distance was enough to allow Pico d’Oro to turn the tables on Medicine Tail in their latest meeting at Ellis Park and earn the son of Curlin his first career victory when he rallied from well back to capture the $100,000 RUNHAPPY Juvenile Stakes on Sunday.

The Juvenile Stakes was one of five stakes on the Ellis Park card, highlighted by the $200,000 RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Derby.

Trained by William Morey for owners Sandin Syndicate Stable LLC, Pico d’Oro was making his third career start and first try against stakes company when he headed to post for the seven-furlong Juvenile Stakes. Though he finished off the board in his career debut at Churchill Downs on June 16, the bay colt showed promise when he ran second to Medicine Tail going six furlongs in a maiden special weight test at the Pea Patch on July 19.

Similar to his run that day, Medicine Tail found himself on the front end Sunday as he battled 4-5 race favorite Cowan through fractions of :22.29 and :45.64. While that pair raced side by side on the lead, Pico d’Oro was at the back of the seven-horse field under jockey Joe Talamo but began rolling past rivals approaching the far turn.

Medicine Tail left Cowan in his wake as he entered the top of the stretch and appeared en route to his first stakes win when he opened up 2 ½ lengths on his challengers in the lane. With Talamo going to left-handed urging, Pico d’Oro kept on surging in the four path, catching his young rival in late stretch and drawing clear for a two-length victory.

“He ran a really good race today,” Talamo said of his mount. “I was actually pretty confident after watching his last replay. He ran a really good race to run second and galloped out really well. So we definitely thought the seven-eighths would help. I tell you what, he ran, too.

“The pace was pretty solid up front for us, and he ran them down. Very professional too. For breaking his maiden in a stakes, I definitely think he’s got a real bright future.”

Medicine Tail held for second, seven lengths clear of third-place finisher Perfect Mistake, while Cowan faded to fifth. The final time for the Juvenile Stakes was 1:23.95 over a fast track.

Bred in Kentucky by Southern Equine Stables out of the Bernardini mare Michelle d’Oro, Pico d’Oro improved his bankroll to $69,517 in earning his first win from three starts.

Morey said Pico d'Oro was the first horse for owner Gerry Sandlin's Sandlin Syndicate Stable. He said Sandlin picked out the Ellis race.

“My owner, Gerry Sandlin, was a big part of it,” he said. “He’s a good friend of mine. We played Little League baseball together 30 years ago, and this was the first horse he ever bought. So I’m really happy for him, mostly. He was a big part of picking this race and pointing for it and the horse did the race.”

Libertyrun, a son of Runhappy who became the first winner for his sire when he prevailed at Indiana Grand on July 8, fell just before the wire in the Juvenile Stakes and was humanely euthanized due to the injuries, owner James McIngvale’s Gallery Racing team posted on their social media account. Kentucky racing officials said Libertyrun was vanned back to the stable area and was evaluated by veterinarians who determined the sesamoid fractures in his left foreleg made it impossible to save the colt.

Quotes:

Jockey Joe Talamo, winner, Pico d’Oro: “He ran a really good race today. I was actually pretty confident after watching his last replay. He ran a really good race to run second and galloped out really well. So we definitely thought the seven-eighths would help. I tell you what, he ran, too. The pace was pretty solid up front for us, and he ran them down. Very professional too. For breaking his maiden in a stakes, I definitely think he’s got a real bright future. I had a lot of horse. For seven-eighths, a lot of these horses haven’t gone that far. They put up pretty solid fractions, and I had quite a bit of horse the whole way. It set up perfect. They were kind of spread out four-wide the whole way, so I was able to kind of tuck in there and come out accordingly and he did the rest.

Trainer William E. Morey: “My owner, Jerry Sandlin, was a big part of it. He’s a good friend of mine. We played Little League baseball together 30 years ago, and this was the first horse we ever bought. So I’m really happy for him, mostly. He was a big part of picking this race and pointing for it and the horse did the race.”

What do you do now? “I’ll talk to Jerry (laughs) and figure it out. But he’s a nice colt. We think he’ll go a little farther, too. We think he’ll go a mile - I don’t know how much farther. We’ve always thought seven, eight furlongs.”

Haven’t looked ahead. “We were dead-aim on this race, and I’m going to have to talk to my Little League baseball partner and see what we’re going to do.”

“We’ve always liked the colt. He trains great. He’s had slightly troubled trips in his first two outs.”

Surprised he won? “I bet a few bucks on him.”

Joe Rocco, jockey for runner-up Medicine Tail: “My horse has a lot of natural speed. Today he broke really sharp. He doesn’t necessarily need the lead. He’s just fast horse. Today I just wanted a good break and get some good position. I was hoping the speed would run away from me, so I could settle off of them. He’s so fast he just broke and was there. They pushed him in front along and he fought really hard today. Each time this horse runs he gets stronger, better, faster and smarter. Hopefully he keeps that progression and keeps moving forward.”

--Crazy Beautiful looks a picture in RUNHAPPY Debutante triumph--

No matter the surface she travels on, Crazy Beautiful has turned her ventures to Ellis Park into strolls in the park.

Having broken her maiden at first asking over the Henderson oval’s turf course on July 5, Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Crazy Beautiful switched to the main track and delivered equally stellar results when she came up the inside path during the stretch drive and kicked on handily to win the $100,000 RUNHAPPY Debutante Stakes on Sunday.

The Debutante Stakes was one of five stakes on the Ellis Park card, highlighted by the $200,000 RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Derby.

Crazy Beautiful’s 3 ½-length score going one mile on the turf last month was impressive enough to send her off as the 5-2 choice from the betting public in the 12-horse as she attempted to translate her talents to dirt. Breaking from post 4 under jockey Rafael Bejarano, the daughter of Liam’s Map showed she indeed could handle the main track with similar aplomb in Sunday’s seven-furlong test.

“She trained like a good thing from the beginning,” said Ken McPeek, trainer of Crazy Beautiful. “I was a little nervous because she hadn’t run on the dirt yet. But it looks like she’s just as good on that as she was on the turf.”

After rating back in ninth while longshot Seguro covered the opening quarter-mile in :22.10, Crazy Beautiful began working her way forward but still had about five rivals in front of her as the field came around the far turn. With a wall of horses in their path, Bejarano initially tried to angle Crazy Beautiful to the outside but made contact with Xtrema around the three-sixteenths.

Instead, Crazy Beautiful altered course back toward the rail where she and Bejarano found plenty of daylight en route to a 3 ¾-length triumph. James Graham, jockey of Xtrema, lodged a claim of foul against the winner for interference but the results - and with it, Crazy Beautiful’s perfect record - were allowed to stand.

“My horse was much the best in the race,” Bejarano said. “I was in perfect position. Behind horses she was fine. But as soon as you got close to the horses, she kind of got excited, angry because of the first time dirt in her face. Last time she was on the turf. I came out a little bit, but the No. 8 pushed me in and tried to make me look bad. This is going to be a really good horse.”

Mania under Sophie Doyle held for second at odds of 24-1 with Fabricate finishing third. The final time for the seven furlongs was 1:23.71 over a track rated fast.

“Mania ran a great race today,” Doyle said. “We managed to make it through some tough traffic and started to get clear. The winner was much the best and once she got past us at the 16th pole, Mania just didn’t have enough to catch her. She (Mania) ran a clunker at Keeneland, but today she ran well and I expect her to continue to improve.”

Crazy Beautiful was bred in Kentucky out of the Indian Charlie mare Indian Burn and improves her earnings to $80,445.

“She pulled us into this race because she’d been training so good,” McPeek said. She’s a really good filly. Sky’s the limit. I think she’ll be a better dirt horse. She acts like it. She won on the turf in spite of it.”

Quotes:

Winning trainer, Kenny McPeek, who ran Crazy Beautiful on turf the first time to get the mile distance, he said: “She trained like a good thing from the beginning. I was a little nervous because she hadn’t run on the dirt yet. But it looks like she’s just as good on that as she was on the turf.”

(What’s next?) McPeek first said “she’s a Pocahontas filly, for sure” but then thought some more and said she’d be nominated to the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies on Sept. 7, and that the Kentucky Downs grass race is an option.

“I wanted to run her longer” (why on turf in debut). “She pulled us into this race because she’d been training so good. She’s a really good filly. Sky’s the limit.”

“I think she’ll be a better dirt horse. She acts like it. She won on the turf in spite of it.”

Confident going in? “Well, I didn’t know how she’d handle the dirt in her face, because she hasn’t had that before. But she did that like it was fun. Bejarano made us a little nervous with a little bumping down the stretch. He had so much horse he probably didn’t know what to do.”

Winning jockey Rafael Bejarano: “My horse was much the best in the race. I was in perfect position. Behind horses she was fine. But as soon as you got close to the horses, she kind of got excited, angry because of the first time dirt in her face. Last time she was on the turf. I came out a little bit, but the No. 8 pushed me in and tried to make me look bad. This is going to be a really good horse.”

James Graham, fourth on Xtrema and who lodged an objection against the winner: “She was running great until she got slammed. Watch. Once and then there again. It just knocked her off stride. You get 2 1/2, three lengths. Get beat a half-length for second. I don’t know what you read into that, but it did take away her momentum.”

Sophie Doyle, jockey of runner-up Mania.

“Mania ran a great race today. We managed to make it through some tough traffic and started to get clear. The winner was much the best and once she got past us at the 16th pole, Mania just didn’t have enough to catch her. She (Mania) ran a clunker at Keeneland, but today she ran well and I expect her to continue to improve.”

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