This year, the Sun Power Stakes was run for the first time since 2014. Leading into the hiatus, trainer Larry Rivelli had dominated the race, with wins by Rambling Richie in 2013 and Dom the Bomb in 2014. Three years hence, Rivelli picked up right where he left off, as Pass the Gravy rolled to an easy victory in Saturday's running of the Sun Power Stakes.
In a sense, the wagering was uncommon for a two-year-old race in Illinois: Rivelli's horse was not the favourite. Pass the Gravy was his shorter-priced entrant -- but still a robust 9.8/1, as compared to stablemate Demand Ransom's 12.1/1. Most of the betting action focused on 1.1/1 favourite Ghaaleb's Winner, one of three entrants from the Scott Becker barn. Ghaaleb's Winner had won an allowance last out (over three other Sun Power foes, including Pass the Gravy), and had finished third behind Barry Lee in the Arlington-Washington Futurity two starts back. Second through much of the wagering was 3.6/1 shot Sir Anthony, a last-out winner at Hawthorne in his first try on dirt.
Rail-drawn longshot Run For Charlie rushed inside to take early command. Caleb's Heir assumed closest chase, with Ghaaleb's Winner soon joining to his inside, and Pass the Gravy to his outside. Into the turn, the Scott Becker pair of Caleb's Heir and Ghaaleb's Winner turned up the pressure on Run for Charlie, with Pass the Gravy biding his time on the outside and Gita's Lad inching closer as he hugged the rail.
Into the stretch, they made five in a line. Gita's Lad caved first, and faded along the rail. Then, Run for Charlie and Ghaaleb's Winner failed to keep pace with the best. Caleb's Heir tried to keep up, but once Pass the Gravy found his best gear near the furlong pole, he and the rest of the field were left to chase for minor awards. Pass the Gravy rolled clear, crossing the wire four and a half lengths clear of a hard-trying Caleb's Heir. It was another four and a half lengths back to Ghaaleb's Winner in third. Pacesetter Run for Charlie was another three lengths back in fourth, which he held by a nose over Sir Anthony. Gita's Lad, Mr. Luv Maker, and Demand Ransom completed the order of finish; Im the Best I Know was a trainer's scratch.
Pass the Gravy stopped the clock in 1:11.20 for six furlongs over a track rated muddy, and paid his backers $21.60 to win. The $1 exacta with Caleb's Heir in second (9-7) returned $246.40. A trifecta with Ghaaleb's Winner in third (9-7-3) came back with $139.54 for each $0.20 base bet. The $0.20 superfecta with Run for Charlie fourth (9-7-3-1) paid $1,693.18.
Pass the Gravy is a three-year-old bay colt by Afleet Alex out of the Lite the Fuse mare Jasmine and Daisys. Bred by Richard Ravin and Larry Rivelli, Pass the Gravy is owned by his breeders as well as V-Leaf Stables of Vince Foglia. After Richie'slilwildcat's win in the Showtime Deb Stakes last week, this means that both two-year-old Illinois-bred sprint stakes were won by horses trained by Rivelli, bred by Rivelli and Ravin, and owned by Rivelli, Ravin, and V-Leaf Stables.
Though all five other starters out of Jasmine and Daisys are winners, Pass the Gravy is the first stakes winner she has produced. His victory in the Sun Power Stakes was his second in three career starts; before today's victory, he had a debut maiden win at Arlington in September and a fifth-place finish in an allowance/optional claimer at Hawthorne last month. The $45,000 winner's share brought his career earnings to $62,421.
Jockey Rodney Prescott rode Pass the Gravy for the first time in the Sun Power. The colt handled the mud well, and got exactly the trip Prescott sought. "I expected to be right off of it, and we were," he remarked after the race. "We had the outside post, which worked to our advantage, probably. We had a nice, clean trip out there, a quiet trip." Prescott's trip was clean literally as well as figuratively; with so many horses and riders returning caked in mud after the race, Prescott's cyan silks and Pass the Gravy's bay coat came back as shiny as they looked before the race.
All photos courtesy of Four Footed Fotos.
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