Greatness Shines as Atomic Twister Wins Woodward

The Woodward (Grade 1)- $750.000 Purse
SAR- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
September 2, 2017

Before the race went to post, we received word that Port On The Horizon and Carneyman would not be running as their trainers elected to scratch them. That left us with a field of eight, and still with many of the top names in virtual racing going at it. Victory would be achieved today by Atomic Twister and it is a triumph that would be put him in some exclusive company. You will recall that he also won the Whitney here in August. He becomes only the second horse to win the Whitney and Woodward during the same meet, doing things that even Whats Up and Barbarino were never able to do. The other horse with that distinction is Natural Born Killer in 2006. Mister Major has won both races as well, but they came in different years. The win also puts him as the third BC Classic winner in history to win the Woodward the following year. Whats Up and Maruzensky were the others. Therefore, there has been no horse, who the year after winning the BC Classic would go on to win both the Whitney and the Woodward, two pivotal races for the next BC Classic. That is, until now, as Atomic Twister stands alone with that feat. His speed figures have been off the charts of late, and it would be foolish to think that anyone else is the favorite for the BC Classic in 2017.

The victory puts him just shy of $7,000.000 in career earnings, so he is beginning to get into some unchartered territory. He is now ninth all-time in earnings, and ranks ahead of horses such as Commanding, Five Fives, and even Dogma. He just slightly behind Niagra, and as he is at the top of his game right now, there is no telling how far he could climb further on this list. Also noteworthy is that his 22 career starts are the fewest of any of the horses that are in the top ten. Another tidbit that I particularly like about Atomic Twister, is that he is one of only two horses in the top ten that has, so far, raced exclusively for the stable that bred him. (Dark Crown is the other). All of this success is a credit to Blushing Meadows, who has done an amazing job with him every step of the way. That’s what is exciting about Atomic Twister though, because there could be many more steps. Why should we think that he could not duplicate these same feats here at Saratoga again in 2018? His form is incredible right now. Not to shabby for a horse that left Saratoga as a two year old in 2015 finishing second in the Hopeful. As for this race, it was the first career Woodward win for both trainer Blushing Meadows, and jockey I Ortiz Jr. The time of the race was 1:47.73, a middle of the road time overall for the stakes history. Congratulations to these legends! Let’s look at how it was won!

(½ Mile- :47.89)- Atomic Twister wastes no time getting out of the lead from the starting gate for Blushing Meadows. He ready to go right from the opening gates, and battles with Rush Henrietta, from Mb Stables, for a little while as the field makes their way around the opening turn. Atomic Twister fights off the outside push from this rival, but soon ends up with a new challenger in the form of Grounded In Reality, also out of Mb Stables. Rush Henrietta backs off the top two once his stablemate joins Atomic Twister. Our eventual couldn’t care less about his rival to the outside as he maintained his graceful stride and would lead at a half mile. Rush Henrietta was still third, but had now dropped two and a half lengths from the lead, and he had some company to his inside. Starting decently on the rail was the 2016 Woodward winner, A One, from Eastern Equine, and he would be in the fourth position. Edwin Drood sits fifth, running in a three wide position nearly a full length behind Rush Henrietta. He would seem to be in a good striking position for the turn if the was able to maintain it. Clash Study, from Smokey Stover, not surprisingly was near the back, but with only four lengths to make up, the trainer had to like where he was on the track if he had his normal late kick. Crop Duster was next, for Mb Stables. At the back, was the normal closer Rajivs Roadblock, out of Night Rider Stables.

(3/4 Mile- 1:11.27)- Running down the backstretch, and moving into the turn, Atomic Twister continued to remain on the lead with Grounded In Reality right beside him. This 23 ½ second quarter shows that Atomic Twister was not too concerned with his rival at this point and likely focused on running his own race. Just what you would expect from a champion racehorse, and from a jockey who knows how to get it done on this race track. Grounded In Reality fought well, but certainly if we stayed grounded in reality, he would be the underdog to come out on top in this battle. There was not much movement going on behind them, though A One would now be a head in front of Rush Henrietta for third, but still trailed by two and a half. Edwin Drood stayed in the same lane that he had been in, which seemed to be a perfect spot, but he actually lost a little ground, and now Clash Study was looking take that lane for himself instead. Crop Duster had not shown much yet, and Rajivs Roadblock seemed to be looking for his lane to strike.

(Top Of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- Atomic Twister continued to pour it on over the course of the turn, and there was nothing that Grounded In Reality could do about it. Against any one else, Grounded In Reality would have likely looked better here, but Atomic Twister is in a league of his own. On exit of the turn, Atomic Twister brushed aside his early running mate and started to inch away. A One was starting to show what has made him one of the greats of the game as well, and looked poised to put forth a great stretch run. Despite this advance, he had gained just a half length on Atomic Twister as they hit the top of the stretch. Rush Henrietta was still fourth, but Clash Study was bearing down on him to his outside. Edwin Drood was in this mix as well in the sixth position. Crop Duster moved to the inside, hoping for some running room, though Rajivs Roadblock began to look like he would not have it today.

(Finish- 1:47.73)- In the stretch, Atomic Twister was not about to let up. If he was getting tired, he was certainly not showing it. Gracefully, he poured it on with every stride, and he needed to. For a little while in the stretch, it looked like A One would not have time to get him, but in the final furlong, that champion also showed what makes him one of the greats in the game. His late bid was impressive, and would likely have toppled just about any other horse out there. However, against Atomic Twister, he would come up just a little short. We are treated to an exacta of two of the best ever between them. Clash Study also made a late bid, but he was never in the picture to put pressure on the top two. It was not futile, however, as he would nip Grounded In Reality at the wire for the third position. This top three result does mean that the SRF did forecast your $345.000 trifecta. Grounded Reality runs a good looking fourth. After them, there was a length and a half gap a three wide fight for fifth with Crop Duster getting the best of the rest distinction over Rush Henrietta and Edwin Drood. Rajivs Roadblock was a non factor.

About the Winner: Atomic Twister, trained by Blushing Meadows and ridden by I Ortiz Jr, is a four year old colt by the underrated Rene and out of Uncle Ho. He was bred in Florida by Blushing Meadows as a first quarter two year old, and they have been together through thick and thin, for their entire careers. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his sixth in 22 career starts, but he wins the big ones. As five of the six are Grade 1’s. His career earnings now sit at $6.930.550, placing him ninth all time in the entire history of the game.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Atomic Twister Blushing Meadows Ortiz I Jr 6.65   1hd 1:47.73 xx
  A One Eastern Equine Velazquez J R 10.90   21 1:47.77 xx
  Clash Study Smokey Stover Bejarano R 2.80   3no 1:47.98 xx
  Grounded In Reality Mb Stables Gallardo A A 10.95   41 1:47.99 xx
  Crop Duster Mb Stables Ortiz J L 10.05   51/2 1:48.24 xx
  Edwin Drood Sanny Village Talamo J 2.35   6no 1:48.34 xx
  Rush Henrietta Mb Stables Pennington F 6.85   72 1:48.35 xx
  Rajivs Roadblock Night Rider Stables Maragh R 8.45   8 1:48.85 xx

Track: Fast

Time: :474  1:111  1:351  1:473

$2 Mutuel Prices:

8 – Atomic Twister 15.30 8.10 4.40
1 – A One   10.00 5.30
5 – Clash Study     2.60

$1 Exacta: 8 – 1 Paid 35.50

$1 Trifecta: 8 – 1 – 5 Paid 345.00

Scratched: Carneyman, Port On The Horizon

Winner, Exacta, and Trifecta picked by NS

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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