Veteran bloodstock agent Mike Ryan watched a filly by More Than Ready go through the inspection process at the Taylor Made Sales consignment at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga last summer and was immediately reminded of another daughter of the same sire who did her best work on the grass in 2010.
“She’s lovely isn’t she?” Ryan said walking through the tunnel at Keeneland Race Course after the More Than Ready filly Rushing Fall won Wednesday’s Grade 3 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes. “She reminded me a lot of More Than Real as a yearling, but she’s a little better temperament. More Than Real was very electric, lived on her nerves a little bit.
“There are a lot of similarities in their mechanics, the way they moved and the efficiency in their strides. That’s how she looked on the sales grounds and after, now it’s nice to see her do in the afternoon.”
Ryan, who bought Rushing Fall for $320,000 for Bob and Kristine Edwards’ e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, now hopes Rushing Fall can duplicate what More Than Real accomplished winning the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs.
Rushing Fall earned an automatic berth in this year’s Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar thanks to her 3 1/4-length victory in the Jessamine in front of 9,475 fans on an unseasonably warm afternoon in the Bluegrass. She could be favored in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf off her two impressive come-from-behind victories – the Jessamine and a 1 1/4-length score going 1 mile on the grass at Belmont Park Sept. 16.
Javier Castellano, who rode Rushing Fall in both starts for trainer Chad Brown, thinks so when the filly runs in the Nov. 3 Juvenile Fillies Turf. Asked by Ryan walking back to the jockey’s room if there would be “enough for Del Mar?” Castellano didn’t hesitate responding yes.
He later called Rushing Fall’s effort “very amazing” against a big field of “very competitive horses.”
“The way she did it with the soft ground, come from way back, had to go around a couple of horses – I went a little wide – all those situations,” Castellano said. “She really came through.”
Rushing Fall went off as the 4-5 favorite in the field of 14 in the Jessamine and she and Castellano raced 11th through the opening quarter-mile and 12th through the half. Up to ninth through 6 furlongs, Rushing Fall made steady progress around the far turn and into the stretch, rolled past the pacesetting Mentality in midstretch and drew off inside the final furlong.
Stainless, third in the Grade 3 Schuylerville and fourth in the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga, also made a belated run from the rear of the field to edge Cash Out for the runner-up spot. Rushing Fall won over the drying out course labeled soft in 1:39.92.
“We were a little concerned with the moisture in the ground, but actually the turf is in great shape considering the rain,” Ryan said. “Javier said it was a little bit soft but you’d expect that.”
A half sister to stakes winner Milam and stakes-placed Autumn Song, Rushing Fall is out of the Forestry mare Autumnal. Rushing Fall could be the start of a big week at Keeneland for Brown e Five Racing, which runs New Money Honey in Saturday’s Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes.
New Money Honey won last year’s Grade 3 Miss Grillo at Belmont before a victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Belmont. She’s been one of the top 3-year-old turf fillies this season and like Rushing Fall, she was purchased as a yearling by Ryan from a Taylor Made consignment. New Money Honey brought $450,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September sale.
“He’s a great owner,” Ryan said of Bob Edwards. “He takes the good and the bad news, he’s very thankful, appreciative and gracious. He doesn’t get uneven, he accepts that it’s not all good news. He and his whole family are just unbelievable. They all enjoy it.”
Nick Zito felt pretty good watching Lenstar roll past the quarter pole and take the lead in the stretch of Wednesday’s sixth race, a 7-furlong allowance on the main track.
He no doubt felt a little better with the race’s 4-5 favorite coming off an impressive debut maiden win the last weekend of the Saratoga meet buried in the middle of the field at the top of the lane. The feelings didn’t last as C Z Rocket rallied inside and outside rivals in the lane to win by 2 1/2 lengths.
“Ran into a buzz saw there,” Zito said as he met jockey Luis Saez by the scale after Lenstar finished second best.
C Z Rocket ran his record to 2-for-2 for owner Frank Fletcher and trainer Al Stall Jr. in the sixth. An $800,000 buy at last year’s OBS April sale, the 3-year-old son of City Zip won in 1:22.69 under Jose Lezcano.
“The jock said he was just galloping,” Stall said after watching the replay with Fletcher. “He seems like a nice horse, for him to make it this far. He was just a big, growing baby, cost a ton of money obviously. We just took our time with him.”
Lezcano rode C Z Rocket in his debut win Sept. 1 and was just as impressed in the colt’s second start.
“He’s a nice horse,” Lezcano said on his way out of the track Wednesday. “To win second time out like that, not too many can do that. I think he’ll go up to a mile.”
Stall said he’d look at a two-other-than, either at a mile or even 1 1/16 miles, at the Churchill Downs fall meet for C Z Rocket’s next start.
Notes: Going Out, a 2-year-old daughter of Tapit out of champion and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Forever Together, won the fifth, a 1-mile maiden originally scheduled for the turf. … A 10-race card is on tap for Thursday and the next stakes is Friday’s Grade 3 Buffalo Trace Franklin County for fillies and mares going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. … Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup attracted a field of 11 3-year-old fillies, including European imports Unforgettable Filly and Wuheida, Royal Ascot winner Con Te Partiro and two-time Saratoga graded stakes winner Proctor’s Ledge.