Back in the arena after almost a 4 year absence, Red Rabbit Racing's Pablo Del Monte returns us right back to that most hallowed ground....
TO THE WINNERS CIRCLE!
Our 6 year old Giant's Causeway gelding, was entered in a 5 furlong sprint on the grass, this past June 4th at Arlington Park. Atop our hero for the first time was jockey CH Marquez, looking resplendent in the colors of our Red Rabbit Racing Stable.
The race was a $25,000 claimer, and Pablo was in for the tag as he had no conditions that would allow us to protect him. We were nervous about being claimed, as you're always trying to ride that razors edge of putting him in low enough to maximize your purse chances, while keeping the claim price high enough to discourage any would be poachers. We were nervous.
As usual we had upwards of 50 people that piled into the paddock to watch Trainer Block saddle our mule and together we walked Pablo through the tunnel out to the track. Leading the charge was Founding Rabbit (Peggy,) ably assisted by Roofer Rabbit, (Jeff) who was the person that spotted Pablo for our acquisition back in April.
This Win Is All Your's Jeff Rabbit!
In the Paddock, Teacher Rabbit ( Ben Johnson) and Fiancée Rabbit (Jordan Jones), arrived, both adorned in copies of RRR's Iconic silks. Together they posed with jockey Marquez when he emerged from the jocks room. Fabulous. Later AP's Paddock Steward came up to me and said the picture taken of the 3 of them was the best he had ever seen in the Paddock!
We had drawn the 3 hole in a short 6 horse field and were the 2nd choice of the wagering crowd as Pablo headed to the gate.
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So as Pablo is loaded in the gate, we are all on the Track Apron watching the proceedings on the JumboTron. As the gate doors swing open, Pablo breaks straight right and bangs the Starting Gate hard as he leaves it. Pablo steadies and Jockey Marquez settles him in 2nd place on the inside of the leader. They are really moving!
As they hit the stretch, CH moves Pablo outside, and has him looking at nothing but Racetrack. Then Jockey Marquez gives Pablo his head and as recorded in the Official Race Result Pablo,
UNCORKED A RALLY!
He pushed his head out in front and defied all comers closing. He didn't have to wait long. Not once, but twice, horses try to head our hero, but he would have none of it. Both times he digs deep and stays in front, protecting his lead. The Rabbits on the Apron are absolutely going nuts as he sweeps under the wire in front by just 3/4 of a length.
Pandemonium as we all hug, kiss, high five and holler about this great win. We pile into the Winner's Circle and form up as best we can - seeing as there are more than 50 people in there. CH returns with our hero to ringing Rabbit cheers, as he is led into the Winner's Circle. There are so many people that the Track Photographer cuts off a quarter of them on the left side from the Winners Circle Photo. Nice Work.
However our joy becomes instantly muted as Racing Secretary Chris Polzin informs Trainer Block that a single claim had been entered for our Pablo and he had been SOLD. After the picture, Pablo is led by our groom over to a groom from Larry Rivelli's stable, where they were waiting with their lead rope to take him back to Larry's barn.
WE WERE SADDENED BUT NOT TOTALLY SURPRISED.
The claiming game is tough. And in the end, we control whether our horse is entered in a Claiming Race or not. But at Pablo's age, with no conditions left, if you don't enter in a Claiming Race you have very few options to get into ANY other race. We accept that. What pisses us off, is that the owner that claimed our horse is Patricia's Hope Stable, owned by Vince Foglia. He has tens of horses at the track and is the leading owner. We had one horse. Did he really need to take our horse out of a One Horse Stable into one with 40? Real Classy Move Vince.
So sadly, we are back in the hunt to find another horse. But this day reminded us how much we love this game. 50 of our Family and Friends. All screaming as our Horse flies down the lane. A Victorious trip through the Winner's Circle. As for me - doesn't get much more fun than that!
Thanks To Chris Block, Pablo's Groom Gustavo, Our Vet Dr. Peterson, For All The Work To Ready Pablo For This Race.
Thanks To Steve Gallo For Taking All The Beautiful Pictures
BUT MOSTLY WE THANK OUR PABLO FOR THE THRILLS HE GAVE US IN HIS ONLY RACE FOR RED RABBIT RACING!
Well Done Pablo Del Monte !