Saturday, March 21, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 21, 2009 . . . Cliffy’s Future came from dead last to win the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes by 2 1/2 widening lengths over Ziegfeld. Toccet Rocket was a head farther back in third. Cliffy's Future is owned by Silverton Hill LLC and trained by Darrin Miller, the same connections who sent out Dominican to win the 2007 Rushaway.
It was the first stakes win for Cliffy's Future, who ran a sluggish eighth last time out in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on February 14. That was his first start for Silverton Hill after a private purchase. Prior to that Tampa effort, he had been risked for a $75,000 claiming tag twice in races at Aqueduct over the winter.
"Coming in, we were really confident," said Miller. "He was a private purchase, and I didn't know a lot about him going into the Sam B. Davis. In hindsight, I wish I had asked more questions, but that race really taught me a lot and I was really confident coming in to this race. I was really concerned about how he would take to synthetics because his race last year at Keeneland wasn't that good. He did train very well over this track."
Ridden by jockey Jesus Castanon, the 3-year-old colt by The Cliff’s Edge raced at the back of the pack early, then swung wide turning for home and drove past the early leaders under a steady drive. The slight 2-1 betting favorite No Inflation stalked from fourth position early and took the lead in the stretch but could not hold off the charge of Cliffy's Future. Final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:44.38.
"I had a great trip," said Castanon. "I"ve been watching the earlier races and seeing how the track was playing. At the half-mile pole, he just took off. He really took to the track well. I didn't use everything in him so there’s something left for the future. I know there's a lot left in the tank. A mile and a quarter should be no problem for him."
When Dominican won the Rushaway for Miller and Silverton Hill, he made his next start in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes where he upset eventual Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. Asked whether Cliffy's Future will attempt to follow in Dominican's footsteps, Miller said, "We had no plans coming into this race. We'll take a look at either the Blue Grass or Lexington now."
Sent off as the 7-1 fifth choice in the field of eight, Cliffy's Future paid $16.40, $6.80, and $5.00.
The order of finish in the Rushaway: Cliffy's Future, Ziegfeld, Toccet Rocket, Sundays Baby Grand, No Inflation, Fitzaslew, Summer's Empire and Ninth Client.