Saturday, March 26, 2011 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Mar. 26, 2011 – Swift Warrior set all the measured pace in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday and took the 1 1/16-mile test for three-year-olds by two lengths over Crimson China. The Ole Gen was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third.
"We were originally pointing for the Spiral (Stakes) but we wanted to take a more conservative route," said winning trainer John Terranova II, who saddled the colt for the first time Saturday. "We wanted to see how he liked the synthetic surface, so we may go to the Blue Grass Stakes (G1 at Keeneland). This race will set him up nicely for that."
Asked whether the colt might take a step beyond a successful Blue Grass and aim for the Kentucky Derby (G1), Terranova said, "We'll see how he is the next few weeks. He's a smart horse. We know he has some of the tools. We’ll need to see if he has them all. We know he's a solid three-year-old."
One tool is willingness under pressure, and Swift Warrior showed plenty as he dueled through the first quarter in :24.52 while heads apart with St. Ivan and Ocasta. The latter was gone by the time Swift Warrior set the half in :48.92. By the three-quarter mark St. Ivan was also off his radar and The Ole Gen had come up to challenge. Crimson China, favored at 2-1, closed strong after a slow break and passed The Ole Gen but couldn’t reach the winner. Final time for the Rushaway was 1:45.73.
Behind The Ole Gen were Swagger Jack, Ocasta, Sorgho, St. Ivan, Disfraz, and Grandpa Gibby.
The 4-1 second choice, Swift Warrior paid $10, $3.40, and $2.60.
A son of First Samurai, Swift Warrior earned his first stakes win with the Rushaway victory and upped his bankroll to $136,810. He has three wins, two seconds, and five thirds in 12 starts. The Rushaway was Swift Warrior's first win under new owners James Covello and James Dolan. Javier Castellano was aboard for the first time.