Its retro style racing in the Marine

Marine Stakes – Grade III




5/16/2015 14:20 5/14/2015 3:00 WO Race #5 1 1/16m Dirt Stake


Purse $150.000  For Three Year Olds.  Nomination Fee $30.00 to start. Payout: 1st-60%, 2nd-24%, 3rd-12%, 4th-4%


So I thought this race may be close with so many three year olds that only just missed out on the TC and so it proved with another close HRP style finish. I must admit this is the first time for a while I am going to have to write that the winner was blocked and didn’t win and that the dream trip won the race. I thought those days had moved on but we were treated to a retro style race here with an outside speed push and lots of hard luck stories.

Here’s how the eight runners ran

1st Lil Old Louie, trained by Mb Stables

I tipped this horse to win and whilst he did just that I wasn’t over impressed with the winning margin in the end. Breaking into the stalk he stuck to the rail like a limpet and was never challenged for it. Enjoying a clear site of the runaway leader it looked like he may pounce and win by a few lengths but he had to really dig deep to hold off the challengers. You cannot doubt the gameness of this win and he won it nicely but I felt that with such a dream ground saving run he maybe should’ve won with a bit more in hand. Having said that a win is a win and I still believe that this one deserves to take his chance in the BEL.

2nd Awesome Ruler, trained by D J C Racing Stables

The outside speed push and an average start saw him blocked in behind the early leader for the first half of the race. This may have been a blessing though as he was always going well and he didn’t have to move out too far to make his challenge. The leader conveniently drifted to allow him a decent stretch run and he very nearly pulled it off in a driving finish. This effort confirmed his SA Derby run was an aberration and I wonder now whether his trainer will be tempted by the BEL if he can get him in.

3rd Valparaiso Harbor, trained by Barcelona Farms

He was the outside horse who wasn’t given the early speed push and he quickly dropped back in the early stages. He was always going well though and had to be pulled wide to make his challenge. He ran on very nicely in the closing stages and the half-length he was beaten could easily be put down to the extra distance he had to travel to get to the winner. This was a super run and he could easily have won with a better start and a better trip so I am pretty sure his trainer will be thinking high for his future.

4th Somersby, trained by Cedar Road

It is a long time since I have seen a horse so blatantly blocked out of a race. I have no doubt in my mind that this was the best horse in the race today and the only surprising this was that he got so close in the end. His jokey never made much of an effort to get clear air today after he broke slowly but when he did finally wake up and took the horse to a gap he flew home and was only beaten a length. You can never tell at HRP what would happen if the race was run again but I am pretty sure with a clearer run I would be talking about how far Somersby won.

4th Flecha Hierro, trained by Team 7 Illusions

I expected a bug run from him and that’s what I got. Shuffled back after a good start he found a stretch run in the end and challenged hard but was out finished in the end. This was an encouraging performance for one so inexperienced but he ran in snatches and one feels with a bit more race craft he could be very good.

4th Miami Fan, trained by Sanny Village

Well it wouldn’t be a stakes race without a dead heat and we were treated to a three way dead heat for fourth today in another crazy HRP finish. Miami Fan got a huge outside speed push and rushed into a clear lead early on. It looked as if he may hold on for a while but in the end he faltered and ended up in a tired but game fourth. He ran well today in a race that looked so retro that you always felt the early leader wouldn’t hold on.

7th Just A Chance, trained by Mb Stables

Settled in a conspicuous last and stayed there for a long time, too long as it turned out. He really did fly late and did amazingly well to get as close as he did and I wonder whether the BEL may still be on the cards for him. You never know with HRP but if he had been a few lengths closer early on he may well have got right in the race for the win and whilst only seventh this was a much better effort from a former star juvenile.

8th Applause, trained by Alydar Stables

Never really got in after being hung out a little wide, I think at the end of the day he was just outclassed.



A three way dead heat for fourth meant that each of the runners got two bucks each, less than your average race at a fair track and we wonder why there is a class issue. Add to that blocks, outside speed and one length covering 7 of the 8 runners and we were treated to a classic HRP race that won’t go down in the ranks of classic selling points.

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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