Incredible Resiliency Shown By Dragon Wagon in The Ruffian Handicap

The Ruffian Handicap (Grade 2)- $250.000 Purse
BEL- For Fillies and Mares Four Years Old and Upward
One Mile on the Dirt
May 3, 2020

In the 16th running of the Ruffian Handicap, Mb Stables had a chance to win the race for the fifth straight year. He will have to settle for being a very close second as playing spoiler this afternoon was Dragon Wagon! The filly, who went off at odds of 18/1, making her the second longest shot on the board, seemed beaten at one point.  However, just when it looked like she might be second best, she dug down while enjoying this chance to finally run a full mile again, and came back to get a resilient win! It allows Maxmillion Farm to place his name on the winners board of the race for the first time, and jockey A Cedillo will as well. Congratulations to them! The race went in a time of 1:35.09, which is in line with other recent times of this race, and bear in mind the conditions of the race have changed multiple times since its inception in 2003. With that, here’s a look at the race!

(1/4 Mile- :24.34)- Dragon Wagon, our eventual winner from Maxmillion Farm, goes right out to the lead, but does not overdo it, and the result is a modest opening fraction for a quarter mile. Steel Calling, one of the two from Mb Stables, does not let her get away, and stays within a length while riding the rail. On The Flop, out of Team 7 Illusions, is next, running to herself in the middle of the field. Orange Beach, the other Mb Stables entry; and Bay Area, from Our Athletes, trail the field but are still within three lengths of the lead.

(½ Mile- :48.08)- Midway through the backstretch, Steel Calling begins to move closer to Dragon Wagon, and the two of them are matching strides as they enter the turn. After a half mile, Steel Calling has poked a head in front for the lead, but Dragon Wagon is still in good form. The two of them have increased their advantage over the rest of the field, and a big reason for that was the dropping back of On The Flop, who had been in third previously. That position now belonged to Orange Beach, but she still had three lengths to make up. On The Flop was now running with Bay Area, four and a half lengths from the front.

(Top Of Stretch, 1.5F To Go)- At this stage of the race, Mb Stables was probably feeling good about adding to his winning streak in the race. Steel Calling seemed to be doing just a little better then Dragon Wagon, and was about a half length ahead as they entered the top of the stretch. Plus, the only horse from behind that was making a move was one of his as well, as Orange Beach was about two lengths from the lead. However, Dragon Wagon continued to run hard and would not let Steel Calling get much ahead of her. Bay Area and On The Flop were beaten horses at this point.

(Finish- 1:35.09)- For most of the stretch, Steel Calling looked like she was going to hold her half length lead on Dragon Wagon, but the Maxmillion Farm filly was not done yet. With half a furlong to go, things began to change just enough between these two where it would be Dragon Wagon gaining that ground right back. She showed tons of heart as they approached the wire, and in the last strides that count, that perseverance would pay dividends as she narrowly tops Steel Calling at the wire. Orange Beach pulled to within a length to be third, and Bay Area got fourth over On The Flop.

About The Winner- Dragon Wagon, trained by Maxmillion Farm, and ridden to victory by A Cedillo, is a four year old filly by Mazula Ruler and is out of 7 T Eight. She was bred in the great breeding state of Pennsylvania by Acber Farms as a yearling, and acquired by Maxmillion, via LionKing Stables in October 2019 for $55.000. Congratulations to the connections! The win is her fourth in 15 starts, and her first stake win of any sort! Her career earnings are now $269.840.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Dragon Wagon Maxmillion Farm Cedillo A 18.45   1no 1:35.09  
  Steel Calling Mb Stables Velazquez J R 1.35   21 1:35.10  
  Orange Beach Mb Stables Bejarano R 1.00   33 1:35.31  
  Bay Area Our Athletes Gaffalione T 26.70   41/4 1:35.93  
  On The Flop Team 7 Illusions Lezcano J 4.75   5 1:36.01  

Track: Fast

Time: :241  :48   1:11   1:35

$2 Mutuel Prices:

3 – Dragon Wagon 38.90 11.60 2.40
1 – Steel Calling   3.10 2.10
5 – Orange Beach     2.10

$1 Exacta: 3 – 1 Paid 57.60

$1 Trifecta: 3 – 1 – 5 Paid 32.40

Scratched: None

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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