Saturday, February 16, 2008 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 16, 2008 . . . Long layoffs told on graded winners Embossed and Jade's Revenge, but Self Made Man was ready and eager for the Dust Commander Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, leading gate to wire to win by a length.
Win Me Over came from mid-pack to take second by a head over High Blues, who charged from far back to take third. That late surge dropped Jade’s Revenge to fourth, three-quarters of a length farther back. Embossed, off since August, ran evenly but never got into the race and finished seventh.
Self Made Man jumped to the lead from the 3 post and rode the rail early, with jockey Victor Lebron working to keep him at fractions of :24.72 and :47.79 through the early going of the mile race. Leaving the top of the second turn, Lebron gave him leave to run and the two sped away from a challenge by Revival Ridge, who pressed the early pace. Final time was 1:37.86.
Earning his first stakes win, Self Made Man atoned for a 10-length loss in his last race, the Prairie Bayou in December. "Last time we expected better things, obviously, and it was a softer group," said Mike Maker, who trains the gelding for Ken and Sarah Ramsey. "But the next morning he had a temperature, so there was something going on there that didn't show up before the race. It's a shame he didn't win that one, though, because his dam [Striking Image] died a couple of weeks ago at the Ramseys' farm after colic surgery. So this was a sentimental victory.
"You just got to let him do his own thing. Sometimes he wants to contest the lead and he looks like a rank horse, and other times he'll settle nicely. Victor rode him perfectly."
Sent off at 11-1, Self Made Man paid $24.80, $12.20, and $7.40. He now has 5 wins, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 15 starts for earnings of $106,558.
The complete order of finish in the $50,000 Dust Commander was Self Made Man, Win Me Over, High Blues, Jade’s Revenge, Say It Son, Revival Ridge, Embossed, Itsallboutthechase, Recognition, and Gin and Sin. Catman Running and Major Rhythm were late scratches.
Live racing continues on Sunday and on Presidents Day as well, the latter day added to recover races lost to cancellation. First post both days is 1:10 p.m.