|Sportsman's Park results
Contact: David Zenner (773) 242-1121 ext. 310
Sunday, March 17, 2002
CASHEL CASTLE WINS SOPHOMORE DEBUT
CICERO, Ill. (March 17, 2002) -- Sandbar Farm's Cashel Castle easily dispatched 10 older rivals in his sophomore debut winning a six-furlong allowance optional claiming race by 5¼ lengths under jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. Sunday at Sportsman's Park near Chicago. He covered the distance over a fast track in 1:11.75.
The 3-year-old son Silver Ghost, who was undefeated in three starts as a 2-year-old, saved ground while racing in fifth position through the first quarter mile, was steadied briefly behind rivals on the far turn, angled out in the stretch to take command and drew off for the impressive score. About the only anxious moment for the Chris Block-trained colt came in early stretch when a riderless horse (Pic's Legend) lugged in toward Cashel Castle.
"I was surprised when I saw a horse coming at me in the stretch because there was no way a horse could have been running that fast," said Razo. "Then I saw it was the loose horse. So I just asked my horse a little bit and he ran away from him.
"From the first time I got on this horse, I felt like I was driving a car," he continued. "Every time I push the button or step on the gas, he does everything I want him to do. He doesn't do anything wrong. He's always acted like a horse with a lot of talent. This year, I can feel that he's stronger. Before he was real easy to work but now he takes more hold of the bit. He's more aggressive as a runner. He gets on the bit and wants to go."
Trainer Chris Block, who was not present for the race because he was at Tampa Bay Downs where his Ioya Two finished third in the $100,000 Hillsborough Stakes, said that the horse would be pointed for the Grade III Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland on April 7.
"That was our plan the whole time," said Block via phone from Florida. "We'll train right up to the race. He'll train at Sportsman's Park where he loves to be. I'm going to talk to (trainer) Elliott Walden as soon as I can to find out how well horses do when they come into Keeneland for the first time without training over the track."
The win, worth $20,400, boosted his earnings to $115,590. Sent off as the 2-5 favorite, Cashel Castle paid $2.80, $3.00 and $2.40 (prices OK).
One race later, Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.'s War Emblem cruised to a front-stepping 10¾-length victory in the $45,000 Illinois Derby Prep. The son of Our Emblem was ridden by Alfredo Juarez Jr. and covered the mile in 1:39.22.
Trainer Frank "Bobby" Springer said War Emblem would be taken to Keeneland to train but would likely return for the $500,000 Illinois Derby (Grade II) on April 6.
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