STICKNEY/CICERO - - The top two in the Sun Power Stakes a month ago, RAMBLING RICHIE and SOLAR FLAIR, were among the nine Illinois-bred two-year-olds in the gate for the $125,000 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, the last major stakes of the season at Hawthorne Race Course.
Quite a few of the two-year-olds in the field were trying the Edgar's two turn mile and a sixteenth distance for the first time on a snowy mid-December afternoon. It made for a potentially contested front end on paper, yet RAMBLING RICHIE was the early leader into the turn. He'd stretch the margin to a length and a quarter at the first call clocked in :24.32. For the entire backstretch run, RAMBLING RICHIE was clear, nursing along his lead as the clock ticked off splits: a half mil in :48.33 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:13.80. Turning for home, RAMBLING RICHIE would be called on his reserves to traverse the distance, and he certainly did as he widened the lead, pulling away and leaving the battle for the minor awards. Early pace presence BAD BOY PETER had called it a day, as had TWISTED THOUGHTS. Two mid-pack closers came after the leader, A STEP AHEAD and SWEEP E PRADO. Deep closer PRADO U was coming as well, but all would run out of stretch.
At the finish, RAMBLING RICHIE was victorious by a length and a half over A STEP AHEAD, the full brother to double G1 winner and three-time Illinois Horse of the Year Giant Oak. PRADO U was a half length behind the top two and a length to the good of SWEEP E PRADO, who checked in fourth.
RAMBLING RICHIE, a two-year-old Illinois-bred colt by Lifestyle, stopped the clock in 1:49.37 for his Edgar win. The track was rated "fast" for the Edgar Futurity but certainly had some moisture in it from accumulating snow. E. T Baird was aboard for conditioner Larry Rivelli. Rivelli is also a part-owner and co-breeder. Sent off as the 3-2 favorite, he paid $5.00 to win.
Winning rider E. T. Baird felt that "[RAMBLING RICHIE] did it on his own. When I asked him, he gave it to me." It was a familiar ride to veterans of the Chicago circuit: give E. T. Baird a free lunch on the lead, and Baird will find a away to win.
Rivelli was not available for post-race questions.
The $2 exacta of RAMBLING RICHIE and A STEP AHEAD returned $32.80. The fifty-cent trifecta of RAMBLING RICHIE, A STEP AHEAD, and PRADO U netted $59.40. Dime superfectas with SWEEP E PRADO in the fourth position paid $53.44.
Whether you're heading to the track or the not, you can take "Picks and Ponderings" with you anytime, anywhere. You can get Twitter updates (@heylaserbeam) for on-the-scene reports on major racedays at Hawthorne Race Course.
And you can get "Picks and Ponderings" in your e-mail by typing your email address in the box and clicking "Create Subscription." It's a FREE service, and you'll never get any unwanted spam.