|Hawthorne Racecourse results (4/19/03)
2003 NATIONAL JOCKEY CLUB HANDICAP RECAP
The 2003 Grade 3, $250,000 National Jockey Club Handicap was expected to be a contest between local favorite Colorful Tour and talented shipper Keats but neither of those runners were close at the finish.
Instead it was Frank C. Calabrese's Fight For Ally, trained by Wayne Catalano, the fifth choice in the wagering and another local hopeful, who came through with flying colors.
Keats, the slight favorite, went immediately to the lead but Fight For Ally never let him get too far ahead. At the three-quarter pole, Keats held only a half-length advantage. By the time they came out of the turn Fight for Ally was on even terms with Keats, then succeeded in putting that rival away while gaining a length and a half lead.
In the final sixteenth both Colonial Colony and Parrott Bay came on but Fight for Ally still had a neck in front when they crossed the wire. Colonial Colony got up for second while Parrott Bay finished a nose behind in third.
Eusebio Razo, Jr., the rider of winner Fight For Ally, said "My agent came to me the other day and said I had a mount in the stake. I asked who for and he said Catalano. I hadn't ridden for him in two years, but he had always wanted to ride me in the past.
"Today, this horse just ran real well," he continued. "Curt (Bourque, who had ridden this horse in the past) told me that he likes to quit at the top of the stretch and you have to keep with him. I thank Curt because I got the whip into him and he responded. When I had the lead, I thought that they would be coming at any time, but he had just enough in the end. I just have to thank Mr. Calabrese and Mr. Catalano for the opportunity."
Wayne Catalano and Steve Leving, trainer and agent of winner Fight for Ally, "We paid $60,000 for him on March 12. He was already nominated to the Ides of March and we thought he was the best horse. When the opportunity came up to be able to buy him, we jumped on it. He vetted out well and physically, he looked good. He raced well in his first start for us, but he was much better in his second.
"We were stabled here and this race came up. It was either stay here or go to Fonner. The Fonner race was at a better distance for him and it was a week later but this race had a much higher purse ($250,000 versus $100,000). We might rest him a bit and send him to Indiana."
Willie Martinez, jockey, Colonial Colony, "I had no excuse. The horse ran a big race for me and if it was just a little bit longer, I think we would have won. He tried very hard and ran the same race he did for me when I rode him last time. He's just getting better now."
Larry Melancon, rider beaten favorite, Keats, "We were on an easy lead. I thought we had them. We couldn't put it away."
Curt Bourque, rider Colorful Tour, "He left running. I just let him bounce along. He was tugging on me until the first turn. I had to try to get into him pretty early. I only had horse for about a quarter of a mile. When I got on the backside, I had no more horse"
They covered the nine furlongs in 1:53.46 after fractions of 24:38; 47:91; 1:12.52; and 1:38.96.
Fight for Ally paid $17.80, $10.60, and $7.60. Colonial Colony paid $7.00 and $5.20. Parrott Bay brought back $7.60. The $2 2-1 Exacta paid $112.40. The $2 2-1-6 Trifecta paid $2,173.60 and the $2 2-1-6-5 Superfecta $10,007.00.
For the victory the connections of Fight for Ally earned $150,000.