BALTIMORE, 05-18-13---Michael Dubb’s Sage Valley pressed the pace before bursting away to a convincing score in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) at Pimlico Race Course.
Saddled by Rudy Rodriquez, the son of Discreet Cat left the gate as the narrow betting favorite at 2.30-1 in the six-furlong sprint on the main track. Hardened Wildcat, a very close second choice at 2.40-1, rallied to finish second, 2 ¼ lengths behind the winner. Laurie’s Rocket took third.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Sage Valley ($6.60) ran the six furlongs in 1:10.51 while registering his fourth straight victory and second stakes in a row. He won the Mr Nasty Stakes at Aqueduct last November.
MARYLAND SPRINT HANDICAP QUOTES
Rudy Rodriguez (trainer, Sage Valley, winner)– “The race came up pretty tough. I was looking for a race in New York, but I’m glad I came to this one. He ran great. He’s a nice horse; he’s lightly raced. He’s had some issues so we have to take our time with him and he’ll perform. Johnny (Velazquez) rode him nicely.”
John Velazquez (jockey, Sage Valley, winner)– “We had a perfect post position and we had a perfect trip. I thought there was plenty of speed in the race and if I could sit just off the lead and make a run down the lane that would be perfect. He responded just the way a horse should.”
Chad Brown (trainer, Hardened Wildcat, 2nd)– “He was a little far behind, but that's him. He's a come-from-behind sprinter. He made his move. The winner was the best horse today. We were just second-best. He's a nice horse. We'll just get him back home and evaluate him and pick another nice spot. I was proud of the way the horse ran. I'm disappointed he didn't win, but he did run his race. He was just second-best."
Javier Castellano (jockey, Hardened Wildcat, 2nd)– “The trainer told me to sit behind the speed duel and let him try and come from behind. I tried to cut the corner but I couldn’t and lost a lot of ground on the final turn. I was just second-best today.”
About Pimlico Race Course
Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing's famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.
Pimlico Race Course is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.