Before today, just two horses had won both the Sun Power Stakes and the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity. Rambling Richie did it for trainer Larry Rivelli in 2013, and Dom the Bomb performed the same feat for Rivelli in 2014. This year, lightning struck thrice. Rivelli sent out Pass the Gravy to victory in the Sun Power Stakes three weeks ago; this afternoon at Hawthorne Race Course, Pass the Gravy completed the sweep with a game rail-running victory in the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.
The early pace was swift. Rail-drawn Run for Charlie, the pacesetter in the Sun Power, sent to do the same here -- but had company in the form of Demand Ransom, the longer-priced entry from the Larry Rivelli barn. Demand Ransom led Run for Charlie through an opening quarter of 23.60, as jockey Rodney Prescott settled even-money favourite Pass the Gravy comfortably in third. Awkwardly-starting Ghaaleb's Winner tracked in the next flight inside, with Sir Anthony just outside him.
A head-and-head duel continued between the leading pair as they clicked off a half-mile in 47.40. Their lead would not last, as the three closest behind them were making their moves into the far turn. Ghaaleb's Winner inched up on the rail. Pass the Gravy angled out to challenge for the lead three wide, with Sir Anthony gaining ground four wide.
Into the stretch, Pass the Gravy and Sir Anthony had launched into a race of their own. Pass the Gravy fought on along the fence, with Sir Anthony outside to push him. Though Sir Anthony made him work every stride, Pass the Gravy dug in and kept his head in front all the way to the wire, prevailing by a neck. It was another four and a quarter lengths from Sir Anthony back to Ghaaleb's Winner, who chased alone in vain down the lane. Five more lengths back, in fourth, came Mr. Luv Maker, who was over a dozen lengths off the early going but improved his position late. First-time starter Be An Inspiration, Run for Charlie, Im the Best I Know, Demand Ransom, and Spanish Coyote completed the order of finish.
Pass the Gravy stopped the clock in 1:46.73 for a mile and a sixteenth on fast dirt, and paid backers $4.00 to win. The $1 exacta over Sir Anthony (2-7) returned $12.20. A trifecta with Ghaaleb's Winner third (2-7-6) came back with $5.46 for each $0.20 base bet. The $0.20 superfecta with Mr. Luv Maker in the lowest rung (2-7-6-4) paid $27.30.
Pass the Gravy is a two-year-old bay colt by Afleet Alex out of the Lite the Fuse mare Jasmine and Daisys. Bred in Illinois by Richard Ravin and Larry Rivelli, he is owned by his breeders as well as Vince Foglia's V-Leaf Stables. Today's victory in the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity was his third in four career starts, as well as his second stakes victory. The $35,565 winner's share of the purse brought his lifetime earnings to $97,986.
Through the course of the races before the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, the rail had been advantageous. Jockey Rodney Prescott was aware, and rode accordingly. "I think the rail's been playing good today, or at least better than it has been," he noted after the race. "Down the backside we were off the rail, but once we turned for home I tried to get to the best part of the track."
Prescott also thinks there may be more in reserve, that Pass the Gravy did not show today, and suggests that he may still have some growing up to do mentally. "I had a lot of horse. Down the back side, I was just trying to talk him down, and we saved just enough for the end. Until the horse came there he was playing a little bit. To tell you the truth, he just dug in enough to hold that horse off today. There's a little more there, I think."
Photographs by Four Footed Fotos.
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