Steel Will Has the Winning Way in Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt Handicap (Grade 1)- $350.000 Purse
SAR- For Three Year Olds and Upward
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
July 29, 2017

In the 14th running of the Grade 1 Handicap, four year old gelding by the name of Steel Will made quite the impression. It was the first time that he had run in a graded stake, but had earned the opportunity based on his current form, which included a statebred stake win out at SA. He handled this career advancement like a true professional, and beat the field by a length in what seemed to be an evenly matched race. The winning trainer is the veteran Australia Wide, allowing him to cross this stake off of list of ones that he had not won yet. M E Smith is your winning jockey, and it is his second win, but first in over a decade. The time of the victory was 1:08.64, the fourth quickest in the history of the race, and the fastest since 2008. Congratulations to the winners! Here’s a rundown of how it happened.

(1/4 Mile- :22.52)- The outside push was strong for two of them out there, as Oh My Senor (Ekli Stable) and The Rook (D J C Racing Stables) each really seemed to break well out of the gate, clearing everyone else by about two lengths before Oh My Senor poked a head in front of The Rook as they prepared to round the turn. Behind them was a three wide gathering, with the eventual winner, Steel Will positioned well along the rail for Australia Wide. Eighth Street (Mb Stables) was between horses, as the other D J C Racing Stables entry, Ghost River, was to the outside. Moon Landing was sixth, three and a half lengths back for his trainer, Mb Stables, while Fly Millennium was to his outside in his Blushing Meadows return. Post time favorite, as well as our pick, Shang Hi Lee (Luz International), seemed to miss the start and was left behind right out of the gate.

(½ Mile- :45.20/Top Of Stretch)- Both Oh My Senor and The Rook continue to go at each other on the front end, but as they progress throughout the turn, The Rook seems to prevailing between the two of them. Moving into the top of the stretch, it became clear that it would be others that would pose the biggest threat to The Rook. Steel Will was happy to stalk the front runners over the backstretch and going into the turn. Approaching the exit of the turn, he moved to the outside of Oh My Senor to complete that pass. If it could be made easily, he would have clear lane and nothing to get in his way of getting to the The Rook. Eighth Street had the same idea, and was half length behind Steel Will and also looking promising. Ghost River, however, who had been running with those two most of the way, could not keep up. Moon Landing was picking to creep into the picture now, and seemed positioned well to follow Steel Will through the hole. Fly Millennium was not showing much, and Shang Hi Lee, a closer, was not closing.

(Finish- 1:08.64)- The stretch run had to go exactly how M E Smith envisioned it when he looked to make his move to the inside of The Rook on exit of the turn. The pass of Oh My Senor was simple, and nothing would be in his way at that point. Steel Will was full of run, making the jockey’s job easy to execute this plan, and he would impressively pick up this win. Moon Landing looked to follow Steel Will for a little bit, but then moved to his outside, perhaps hoping that he would be able to pass that one as well. This stretch run was able to get him second, beating The Rook by half a length. Those were the three main factors in this race. Eighth Street gets the fourth place check with a nice outside run, but did not threaten for more. Fly Millennium is fifth, moreso because he was simply the best of the rest. Oh My Senor fizzled to sixth, Shang Hi Lee disappointed a lot of backers in 7th, and Ghost River was well out of it in 8th.

About The Winner: Steel Will, trained by Australia Wide and ridden to victory by M E Smith, is a four year old gelding by Steel Ball and out Rattle Ya Spirit (by Five Spirits). He was bred in California by Harrell Racing as a yearling, and was acquired by Australia Wide, via Eastern Equine, in private sales for $135.000 in October 2016. Congratulations to the connections! The win is Steel Will’s sixth win in 19 starts, and his second in a row. It is his second stake win, and first graded win. His career earnings now sit at $430.730.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Steel Will Australia Wide Smith M E 3.00   11 1:08.64  
  Moon Landing Mb Stables Albarado R J 7.00   21/2 1:08.95  
  The Rook D J C Racing Stables Ortiz J L 20.30   31/4 1:09.07  
  Eighth Street Mb Stables Bejarano R 2.80   41/4 1:09.16  
  Fly Millennium Blushing Meadows Ortiz I Jr 21.10   51 1:09.24  
  Oh My Senor Ekli Stable Franco M 6.50   63/4 1:09.53  
  Shang Hi Lee Luz International Velazquez J R 2.55   71 1:09.69  
  Ghost River D J C Racing Stables Moran D 25.80   8 1:09.97  

Track: Fast

Time: :222  :451  :564  1:083

$2 Mutuel Prices:

1 – Steel Will 8.00 4.50 3.50
2 – Moon Landing   10.10 7.60
7 – The Rook     11.40

$1 Exacta: 1 – 2 Paid 46.30

$1 Trifecta: 1 – 2 – 7 Paid 1,478.90

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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