Early Retirement Shows No Quit in AP Million Rout

AP Million (Grade 1) (BC)- $1,000.000 Purse
AP- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Quarter on the Turf
August 11, 2018

Early Retirement will be heading to the BC Turf thanks to picking up his second consecutive Grade 1 victory. Last month, he burst onto the scene by winning the BEL Derby, and now he goes back to back, by winning the AP Million. This victory secures a spot in the big race unless the trainer chooses otherwise (always must add that disclaimer), and he should be one of the favorites when considering this form. The Decima gelding did not just win this race, though, he dominated it. Three length victories at this level can be considered a virtual rout, so congratulations are in order to Mb Stables for this performance. It is his second straight win in the race, third in five years, and fourth in seven years. Perhaps it should be given the nickname of the Mb Million. The services of the legendary F Pennington were helpful here as well, and he picks up his second AP Million win. The time of the victory was 1:57.87, the second quickest in the history of the race. Let’s take a look at how it went down!

(1/2 Mile- :47.90)- Former Maxmillion Farm stablemates Sean Hannity, now running for Estero Farms, and The Joker, now with D J C Racing Stables, emerge as the quickest out of the gate. While Sean Hannity keeps running well into the turn, The Joker decides to back off the pursuit a bit, and assumes a position off the lead. Moving into the second position is Early Retirement, our eventual winner from Mb Stables. He’ll be a length back, and its another length to where The Joker settled in, which is also to the outside of the 2014 AP Million winner, Spanish Showboat, from Mb Stables. Running fifth is Threshold’s Decibel, who starts to show his intentions to slide in between the 3rd and 4th place runners at the top of the backstretch. It’s another length to Banshee Star (Joseph Racing), and another to a three wide group consisting of, from inside to outside, Lets Do It Big Boy (Team 7 Illusions), Lunar Blaze (John Henry), and Name Drop (Mb Stables). Then it’s a gap of two to another threesome: Blue Eight (Blushing Meadows), Condo (Diablo Diablo), and Suspicious Native (Wil Mac Racing). The surprising trailer is Controlled Power, from Spankys Barn, with nine and a half lengths to make up.

(3/4 Mile- 1:11.29)- As they make their way down the backstretch, Early Retirement pulls even, and ultimately passes Sean Hannity for the race lead. It was an emphatic pass, as before they even hit the top of the turn, he had pulled out to a length advantage. Meanwhile, Decibel was having a pretty nice trip for himself, and maintained the lane for the backstretch that he had been looking to utilize. He had moved into the third position, and had a clear lane in front of him, but still had just under three lengths to make up on Early Retirement. Spanish Showboat was hanging tough to his inside, while The Joker was starting to lose a little momentum. Name Drop was looking ambitious into the turn with a five wide move potentially coming. Lets Do It Big Boy, Banshee Star, and Lunar Blaze were holding their ground for now. Condo was getting closer to the middle of the pack. Blue Eight, Suspicious Native, and Controlled Power were still at the back.

(Top Of Stretch, 1.5F To Go)- Early Retirement and F Pennington have gotten away from them! He has gracefully handled the turn, and continues running at full stride going into the homestretch. The lead is three lengths, and things were looking good. Only one potential challenger seemed to be looming, and that would be Decibel, who had pulled a length on front of everyone else in the field, but it would take a heroic effort for him to catch Early Retirement now. Spanish Showboat still ran a steady third, though Sean Hannity was starting to get leg weary. Moving up here would be the veteran Lunar Blaze, who outran those he had been running with and was now fifth. This effort looked like it could get him as high as second, but that would be the most reasonable expectation now. The wide trip seemed to stymie Name Drop’s progression a bit. Lets Do It Big Boy, Banshee Star, and The Joker were in the pack, but not moving forward. Condo looked to make an aggressive outside move on exit of the turn and seemed to be in a good spot here to advance his position without traffic difficulty. Blue Eight, Suspicious Native, and Controlled Power were non-factors now.

(Finish- 1:57.87)- In the stretch, all there was left to do was watch Early Retirement run. He had given the field the slip, and as long as he maintained his stride, it was clear sailing. Decibel emerged as a clear-cut second place finisher here as well. The length advantage that he had given himself at the top of the stretch over everyone else would hold up. The main excitement for a money position would be between a couple of well known veterans, Lunar Blaze making the pass on Spanish Showboat in the final moments. Name Drop was good in the stretch, but settles for fifth, and Condo’s very wide stretch trip saw him get up for sixth. Lets Do It Big Boy, Banshee Star, and The Joker are 7th-9th with methodical though uninspiring runs. Sean Hannity fell to 10th. Suspicious Native, Blue Eight, and Controlled Power finish out the running order.

About The Winner: Early Retirement, trained by Mb Stables and ridden to victory by the great F Pennington, is a three year old gelding by Decima, and is out of Dirty Dawg. He was bred in Ontario by Mb Stables as a first quarter two year old, the only trainer for which he has ever known. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his fourth in 10 starts, his third stake win, and second graded win. Both graded wins are Grade 1’s. His career earnings are now $1,587.600.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Early Retirement Mb Stables Pennington F 5.05   13 1:57.87  
  Decibel Threshold Ortiz J L 8.20   21 1:58.48  
  Lunar Blaze John Henry Gutierrez Mario 10.50   3hd 1:58.77  
  Spanish Showboat Mb Stables Centeno D E 4.90   41 1:58.81  
  Name Drop Mb Stables Colon L H 10.30   5nk 1:59.01  
  Condo Diablo Diablo Albarado R J 26.55   6hd 1:59.08  
  Lets Do It Big Boy Team 7 Illusions Valdivia J Jr 47.95   71/2 1:59.12  
  Banshee Star Joseph Racing Gallardo A A 13.65   8no 1:59.25  
  The Joker D J C Racing Stables Maldonado E 3.50   93/4 1:59.27  
  Sean Hannity Estero Farms Ortiz I Jr 34.60   101/4 1:59.46  
  Suspicious Native Wil Mac Racing Smith M E 14.85   11no 1:59.56  
  Blue Eight Blushing Meadows Talamo J 51.50   12hd 1:59.58  
  Controlled Power Spankys Barn Nakatani C S 8.45   13 1:59.61  

Track: Firm

Time: :474  1:111  1:341  1:574

$2 Mutuel Prices:

6 – Early Retirement 12.10 6.30 5.40
1 – Decibel   7.60 6.60
3 – Lunar Blaze     3.70

$1 Exacta: 6 – 1 Paid 84.20

$1 Trifecta: 6 – 1 – 3 Paid 395.60

Scratched: Serious Cobra, Neon Wolf(L)

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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