Richie the Bull Charges to Victory in the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity

STICKNEY/CICERO -- In 2013, Larry Rivelli trainee Rambling Richie won the Jim Edgar Futurity by a length and a half.

Last year, Rivelli returned to the race with Dom the Bomb.  He stalked the pace, took over, and got home five and a quarter decisive lengths in front.

This year, Larry Rivelli tried to make it three in a row with Richie the Bull.

RICHIE THE BULL faced five rivals in today's edition of the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, a $50,000 added ($65,675 total) stakes race for Illinois-bred juvenile colts and geldings at a mile and a sixteenth over the dirt track.  Though a seventh challenger had entered the race -- Arlington-Washington Futurity (GIII) winner SHOGOOD -- that morning-line favourite was a race-day trainer scratch.

From the time wagering opened, the public was keen on RICHIE THE BULL.  He was 1/2 in the earliest going, continued to take money, and went off the 3/10 choice.  Kentucky Downs allowance winner CASHEL ROCK, campaigned by the same connections as Pat Whitworth winner Silver Lode, also took significant early money.  He was 8/5 at first flash; by the time the gates opened he had settled at 7/2, still the clear second choice.  Maiden claiming winner MOONSHINER and maiden special weight winner NAVY SEABEE traded off as the third and fourth choices of the public, though by post time it was NAVY SEABEE who took a bit more action.  Maiden GARY LUKE and first-time starter MYSTIC PREACHER remained tote board outsiders throughout.

The favourite broke well, but it was NAVY SEABEE who rushed quickly to the lead, and dictated terms through the clubhouse turn.  RICHIE THE BULL settled second along the rail, with CASHEL ROCK pulling ahead to be an eager third.  Entering the far turn they both advanced on NAVY SEABEE, with RICHIE THE BULL asserting himself on the front.  So they remained through the far turn.

Approaching the stretch, CASHEL ROCK tried to make a race of it, drawing on approximately even terms with RICHIE THE BULL.  It almost appeared a duel between the quarter pole and the three-sixteenths, but RICHIE THE BULL was just toying with him.  He started to edge clear approaching the furlong pole, and then turned on the afterburners.  RICHIE THE BULL drew off to win, nine and a quarter lengths clear.  The race for second went to NAVY SEABEE, who re-rallied for second, a length and a half clear of CASHEL ROCK.  MOONSHINER chased in fourth throughout, evenly, and checked in five lengths behind CASHEL ROCK.  GARY LUKE and MYSTIC PREACHER completed the order of finish.

RICHIE THE BULL posts an authoritative victory in the 2015 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.

RICHIE THE BULL posts an authoritative victory in the 2015 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.

RICHIE THE BULL is a three-year-old colt by Benny the Bull out of the Five Star Day mare Richiesgirlgotgame.  He is trained by Larry Rivelli, and was ridden to victory by E. T. Baird.  He was bred in Illinois by Richard Ravin and Larry Rivelli, and owned by Ravin and V-Leaf Stables.  This victory in the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity was his first career stakes win, though he placed third behind Sheikh of Sheikhs in the Juvenile Dirt Sprint Stakes at Keeneland on October 31.  Winning the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity runs in RICHIE THE BULL's family -- he is a half-brother to last year's winner, Dom the Bomb.  Dom the Bomb and RICHIE THE BULL are the only progeny of Richiegirlgotgame to have raced to date; now they are both Jim Edgar winners.

"He's a nice horse," remarked rider E. T. Baird.  "It was his first time, a distance of ground, two turns.  He handled himself well."  The trip was less than straightforward, but Baird had RICHIE THE BULL in control throughout.  "The horse on the outside broke, and he dropped out of it on the first turn.  My horse managed to come back in there again, and then he pulled his horse back to the fence.  So, then, I came out of there.  He finished full of run."

Trainer Larry Rivelli had been pointing to this race, and was optimistic about RICHIE THE BULL's two-turn potential.  “Being an Illinois-bred, I figure we had this marked.  I wanted to see if we could run him long.  I figured it would probably be an easier spot than he had been running in.  And, with Shogood scratching, it made it a lot easier of a race for us.  I always thought he’d run long.  And, he’s doing good.  He’s sound, training great.  There was no reason not to run him here, hometown, with all the guys.”

Rivelli has a string at Tampa Bay Downs for the winter.  He is planning to point RICHIE THE BULL toward the three-year-old stakes there this winter, beginning with the Inaugural Stakes (to which he is nominated) on December 19.  Remarked Rivelli, “The Tampa Bay Derby may be a stretch, but we’ll look to the other ones for sure."

RICHIE THE BULL stopped the clock in 1:45.68 for a mile and a sixteenth over fast dirt, and paid his backers $2.60 to win.  The exacta with him over NAVY SEABEE (1-4) paid $3.90 for a $1 bet.  A $0.20 trifecta with CASHEL ROCK slotted third (1-4-3) paid $1.42 for each base bet.  A superfecta with MOONSHINER slotted fourth (1-4-3-6) came back with $2.74 for every $0.20 placed on the combination.

Photograph courtesy of Four Footed Fotos.

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