Interpolate pounces to victory in the Ruthless under Eric Cancel (Joe Labozzetta)
By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Klaravich Stables’ Interpolate notched her first stakes triumph for four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown in Sunday’s $100,000 Ruthless, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Ridden to victory by Eric Cancel, who picked up the mount from the injured Kendrick Carmouche, Interpolate stalked and pounced to victory under a well-timed ride to pass pacesetter Girl Trouble down the stretch and post the 2 1/2-length score.
“She’s always shown a lot of potential in the mornings and it’s one of those things with young horses where she’s developed week-to-week and month-to-month mentally,” said Brown. “Eric allowed her to really put her development all together today by allowing her to run how she wanted. I’m very proud of her.”
Breaking sharply from post 2, Interpolate was taken back by Cancel and settled in fourth as post-time favorite Girl Trouble vied for command with an advancing Royal Poppy to her outside through an opening quarter-mile in 24.53 seconds. Brown’s other entry, Senior Prank, tracked along the rail in third after breaking inwardly from the inside post under Manny Franco and rushing up to gain position.
Royal Poppy secured a half-length lead as the field rounded the turn with Girl Trouble to her inside, but Interpolate loomed large in the three-path and made up ground with every stride to come to even terms with her two rivals after a half-mile in 48.50. Royal Poppy began to backpedal at the top of the stretch as a stubborn Girl Trouble continued to give chase down the lane, but Interpolate had plenty left to draw away from her rival and cross the wire first in a final time of 1:26.44 over the fast main track.
Girl Trouble held place honors by 2 3/4 lengths over the late-running Malibu Moonshine, who suffered her first loss in her fourth career start. Royal Poppy rounded out the superfecta with Senior Prank completing the order of finish.
Interpolate’s victory came on the heels of a troubled trip on January 3 at Parx Racing where she was bumped and steadied at the start of the Parx Futurity and finished a distant fourth behind Girl Trouble over a sloppy and sealed main track.
“She didn’t break well at Parx and then she was rushed into the race. It just unfolded pretty bad and you add in a sealed track into that, I put a line through it,” Brown said. “I love how Eric filled in here and got her out of the gate but didn’t rush her and let her find her stride. I felt comfortable when she was taking him through every stage of the race – that’s really what I wanted to see, for her to be taking the rider somewhere. That’s the way she prefers to train and run and I’m proud of the filly.”
Cancel said Interpolate was professional in her victory.
“She felt pretty good. She was pretty nice and smooth,” said Cancel. “Looking at her last race, it looks like she had a little bit of a rough trip, but I just tried to not get in her way today. I tried to let her be comfortable out there and she did the job.”
The win was Brown’s ninth from 18 starters at the Big A this year, an accomplishment he said can be attributed to his team at Belmont Park.
“My New York team has really been cooking on all cylinders with the win percentage as you can see,” said Brown. “They’ve been executing all their duties to the highest degree, so I’m very proud of them, too.”
Brown said Interpolate is more likely to cut back to six furlongs in the $100,000 Cicada on March 18 rather than stretch out to one-mile in the $200,000 Busher on March 4, which offers 50-20-10-15-5 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points.
“I don’t think [the Cicada] is a bad idea,” said Brown. “I think the way she rated today, she clearly showed that she can sit off horses and move when willing. She’s not just a one-dimensional horse who needs to be up close to the pace. If I had to choose between the two, I think a cutback with some pace in front of her would probably be more to her liking than trying to stretch her out too far. But we’ll ultimately leave it up to how she trains.”
Bred in Kentucky by Capital Bloodstock, Interpolate banked $55,000 in victory and improved her lifetime record to 4-2-0-0. She returned $11.80 for a $2 win ticket.
Butch Reid, Jr., trainer of the Jose Lezcano-piloted Girl Trouble, said the dual stakes winner may have struggled with the surface.
“She didn’t really get a break early on,” Reid, Jr. said. “Jose said he was a little unsure about the track. He thought it was a little bit heavier than she’s been used to and that she struggled with the track a little bit. That said, the winner is a legitimate horse and I thought she ran well.”
Reid, Jr. added that he will wait to make a decision on the Busher for Girl Trouble.
“We’ll take it one step at a time, see how she comes out of it and make a decision from there,” said Reid, Jr.
Live racing resumes Thursday at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.