2016 Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with Rudy Rodriguez

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The sun is still waking up, seeping through the hazy fog that rested atop the Oklahoma Training Track as 7:40 rolls around Thursday morning. The first break comes to an end and horses begin to tromp onto the dirt, beginning their morning workouts. (Editor’s note: Originally published in Aug. 19 issue of The Saratoga Special.)

A frisky bay parades onto the track, knees kicking high, jigging side to side, with Rudy Rodriguez sitting on top smiling, the yellow letters of his saddle cloths standing out against the blue hues of the foggy track.

Fast forward to a half-hour later and Rodriguez is spotted again, this time on the ground holding the shank of a nervous 2-year-old chestnut with a big white blaze as a parade of five other horses follows along the perimeter of the Oklahoma.

While Rodriguez catches a break from sets around 9, he is in his office scanning through the program checking on potential claims. He checks on his horses again as training comes to an end, and moves on to prepare for his afternoon starters.

“I try to stay busy,” Rodriguez said. “It’s hard work, there’s no time to relax over here. We’ve put in a lot of work and we’ve got a good group. We’re happy the horses are happy and running good, and we’ll try to keep the owners happy.”

Rodriguez has won eight races with five seconds and four thirds from 42 starts through Thursday, good for fourth in the Saratoga standings. The barn is seventh by purses earned with $498,017 through Thursday.

“(The horses) look like they love Saratoga; we love Saratoga, too,” Rodriguez said. “You never know, you’re in Saratoga. You’ve got to be in it to win it.”

Rodriguez spent a few moments between morning workouts and Monday’s races to talk about some of the horses in his barn with The Special’s Shayna Tiller.

Everybodyluvsrudy: Two-year-old Union Rags colt finished second in a July 1 maiden at Belmont Park. “He was supposed to run the other day and he had some kind of reaction and we had to scratch him. We did the right thing; he looks very good right now. Ready to go. Named by Michael Imperio, one of the best owners we have, as well as Michael Dubb. I’ve had another owner name a horse Rudy Rudy Rudy, and I had to put him in for claiming. Same with Mr Rodriguez. If they run, they stay. I can’t fall in love with them; it’s a business, too.”

Pure Lemon: A stakes winner in Puerto Rico imported by owner Luis Archilla, 3-year-old Eskendereya filly won an allowance-optional at Pimlico June 11 and was 10th in a Belmont allowance-optional July 17. “We entered her over here a couple times and she didn’t get in. She’s here, she’s ready to go.”

Asset Inflation: Claimed out of a winning allowance-optional July 27 by Michael Dubb and Gabrielle Farm, 6-year-old Greeley’s Galaxy gelding is entered for Saturday’s Troy Stakes. “He seems like a nice horse. I’ll run him in the Troy. We claimed him for $40,000 and he seems like a nice horse, solid horse.”

Mighty Moses: Previously trained in California by Bob Baffert, Zayat Stables shipped the 3-year-old Candy Ride colt to Rodriguez this summer and he finished fourth in an Aug. 8 maiden at Saratoga. “He had trouble in the race, but he ran a good race. He’s a nice horse. The owners want to run in Saratoga so I’m trying to keep them happy.”

Summer Revolution: Jeff Drown’s Summer Bird colt ran record to 2-for-2 with allowance win at Saratoga Aug. 6. “We have big hopes for him. We ran him the other day and he ran very, very big. Hopefully we can run him in the King’s Bishop. He ran pretty fast so I guess he likes it here.”

In It For The Gold: A $225,000 buy at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale, Speightstown filly finished third in back-to-back maiden races July 2 at Belmont and Aug. 7 at Saratoga. “The other horses looked like they were pretty good (in Aug. 7 race). She’s a very nice filly. She’s been unfortunate to run with some tough horses. She ran with Libby’s Tail first time, but she’s doing good. Hopefully I’ll run her one more time up here.”

Frosty Margarita: Gabrielle Farm’s homebred Frost Giant filly, last year’s champion New York-bred 2-year-old filly, pins her ears and takes a nip at Rodriguez as he approaches her stall. She finished fourth in the Cab Calloway division of the New York Stallion Series Aug. 11. “I don’t think she was ready to run. She came back with a little splint (after her June 26 start at Belmont), so we missed a couple weeks with her. I just gave her the race, I thought maybe the class she could overcome, but oh well. She’s a homebred, very special to us. She never finishes out of the money and always tries. We’re going to give her another chance. She’ll be ready now. She’s big; mean, too.”

Colorful Charades: Michael Ryan’s 2-year-old Discreet Cat filly, a winner going 6 1/2 furlongs in her debut Aug. 14, sticks her head out and gets some affectionate pats on her dappled grey head. “Hi baby! She won yesterday. I really like her. She’s nice, nice filly. We want to keep her here and take a look at the Spinaway at the end of the meet. Hopefully she can recuperate, she’s a little light. I don’t know how she’s going to take the race, but she looks happy and alert.”

Royal Posse: One of three stakes winners at the meet for Rodriguez, 5-year-old Posse gelding won the Alydar Aug. 7. “Very, very nice claim. We claim him for $20,000 and he’s very, very, very good. Since we’ve claimed him he doesn’t finish worse than second. He’s won five races (and finished second five times) with us. He loves Saratoga so we’ve got a couple more races for him. There’s a stake at the end of the meet for New York-breds (Evan Shipman, Sept. 2).”

Libby’s Tail: Two-year-old Tiz Wonderful filly, entered in today’s Grade 2 Adirondack, excitedly greets Rodriguez with a nudge as he steps in front of her stall. “She’s a pretty special filly. Very nice, very kind. She was the favorite, more pressure for us. She’s doing everything that we’re asking. We have to give credit to the buyer (Kim Valerio, agent for Dubb), she does her work and they got a nice filly. I wish they ran the other day, but I was happy that they cancelled the races because I really didn’t want to run them on the track. They’re just babies. We’re looking forward to see her run.”

Jamyson ‘N Ginger: Magic Cap Stables purchased the filly for $280,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of selected 2-year-olds in training. She finished third in her debut going 6 1/2 furlongs Aug. 14 at Saratoga. “I’m going to keep her here, hopefully we can run her one more time. I’m not sure. She ran a good race and got a little tired. It was her first time so you expect her to get a little tired, but I was proud of her. We’re just happy that the owners give us these opportunities with these types of horses. She’s well bred, by Bernardini (out of Canadian champion Ginger Brew). Looks like she came out good, alert, happy.”

Celestial Sighting: Second in last year’s Bolton Landing and Lady Finger Stakes, 3-year-old Eskendereya filly makes first start since Jan. 8 in state-bred allowance Saturday. “She ran last year here in Saratoga, then ran in a stake. She’s doing good. A little skinny, we’d like to put on more weight but that’s the way she is. She thinks she’s a model.”

Condo Prince: Second in July 9 debut at Belmont, 2-year-old Paddy O’Prado colt is entered in Saturday’s seventh going 6 furlongs on the main track. The colt was asleep, his head resting on his hay net. “It looks like he’s going to be nice. We’ll see. He’s doing good. Eventually he’ll go long distance.”

Jules N Rome: Dubb’s 4-year-old Dunkirk filly is another of Rodriguez’s Saratoga stakes winner, taking Monday’s Saratoga Dew. Dubb and Rodriguez claimed the filly for $62,500 at Saratoga July 27. After the Saratoga Dew, Rodriguez discussed what he liked. “She’s a nice looking filly that can go long. She’s never really run a bad race. We’re looking for consistent horses and sound horses. We got lucky that she’s nice and sound. Dominick Schettino did a good job to keep her sound and then Danny Gargan kept her sound, too.”

Cespedes: A $62,000 buy this year, 2-year-old colt by Justenuffhumor has breezed five times at Saratoga, twice from the gate. “We’re trying to push, trying to get him ready for the end of the meet. New York-bred, they named him after a baseball player for the Mets. He’s doing good, I’m not sure I can get him ready the way I want, but we’ll see. We still have a couple of weeks.”