Kick Rocks Makes Winning Look Easy in Valedictory Stakes

Valedictory Stakes (Grade 3)- $150.000 Purse
WO- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Dirt
December 5, 2021

The last time that Kick Rocks won a race, it was May 2020. In the eleven races since then, he hit the board on several occasions, and recently had been turning in some pretty good results. Just about the only thing that he had not done of late was win, and now after twelve furlongs in the Valedictory Stakes, Kick Rocks has kicked the winless drought to the side, going wire to wire in the victory! The four year old El Gran Broomstick gelding is trained by Nakamura Stables, who wins the race for the first time. Jockey G Boulanger is now a two-time winner, having also won in 2018. Congratulations to them! The time of the win was 2:28.40, making it the second fastest running of the race. Let’s take a look!

(½ Mile- :49.44)- The Nakamura Stables- trained Kick Rocks goes right out to the lead from the gate, and for a little while Boa G, from Night Rider Stables, runs with him, but by the time they hit the frontstretch for the first time, Kick Rocks has put away that challenge. After the opening half mile, he is beginning to open up and leads by about two. Boa G drops back into the clutches of Arindel’s Talladega, who was initially assuming a stalking position. Rock Creek’s Big Bang Raj runs fourth, and is a length behind those two. It’s several lengths further back to Bring The Pain (Luz International).

(¾ Mile- 1:13.85)- It’s all Kick Rocks thus far, as the gelding continues his stranglehold on the race with a commanding lead of about three lengths throughout the clubhouse turn and moving into the backstretch. Talladega has inherited the second spot due to Boa G already beginning to show signs of tiring. That one is about to be passed by Big Bang Raj, about five lengths from the front. Bring The Pain is well off the pace.

(Top Of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- It’s looking pretty easy for Kick Rocks, who cruises down the backstretch without any sort of challenge. This continues as they go around the final turn, as it begins to look like he has gotten away from the field. Taking second would be Big Bang Raj, and could the Rock Creek horse catch the Rocks? It would take a pretty strong effort. Talladega was third, but not looking like he was going to progress any further, and both Boa G and Bring The Pain were soundly beaten at this point.

(Finish- 2:28.40)- There would be no drama in the stretch, as Kick Rocks continues to run well, leaving the rest of the field hopeless. For a horse on a winless streak, it shouldn’t have been this easy, but he looked real good here. Big Bang Raj is second best, and even he was nearly a full second ahead of third place Talladega. Bring The Pain was hardly ever seen on the viewer, but is fourth. Eventually, Boa G was able to cross the line, too.

About The Winner- Kick Rocks, trained by Nakamura Stables, and ridden to victory by G Boulanger, is a four year old gelding by El Gran Broomstick and is out of the late Miss Rock Box. He was bred in Louisiana by Broken Spoke Stables as a yearling and acquired by Nakamura, via Mb Stables, in the September 2020 auction for $35.320. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his fifth in 20 starts, and first stake win of any sort. His career earnings are now $299.160.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Kick Rocks Nakamura Stables Boulanger G 1.80   12 2:28.40  
  Big Bang Raj Rock Creek Bridgmohan S X 3.60   24 2:28.98  
  Talladega Arindel Moran D 2.25   3nk 2:29.95  
  Bring The Pain Luz International Fukumoto D 11.10   44 2:30.00  
  Boa G Night Rider Stables Contreras L 3.45   5 2:30.86  

Track: Fast

Time: :492  1:134  2:024  2:282

$2 Mutuel Prices:

3 – Kick Rocks 5.60 3.20 2.20
2 – Big Bang Raj   3.90 2.30
1 – Talladega     2.20

$1 Exacta: 3 – 2 Paid 9.70

$1 Trifecta: 3 – 2 – 1 Paid 22.90

Scratched: None

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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