Law Professor ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last year (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)
Rossa Veloce Nominated to G3 Distaff Handicap
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ graded-stakes winning Kentucky homebred Law Professor worked a solo half-mile in 49 flat Saturday over the Belmont Park dirt training track in preparation for this Saturday’s $125,000 Excelsior, a nine-furlong route for older horses, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Rob Atras and piloted through the breeze by exercise rider Jesse Sauder, the 5-year-old Constitution gelding built on a similar effort on March 19 in which he covered a half-mile in 48.42.
“It was a good breeze. He was moving pretty good and finished up nice,” Atras said. “We weren’t looking to work him too strong coming back in six days and he had a pretty sharp work last week. But that’s him, he’s been in the bridle and coming into the race pretty sharp.”
Law Professor captured the restricted Tapit in September in his first start for Atras, posting a half-length score in the one-mile 70-yard test over the Kentucky Downs turf. He followed with a strong runner-up effort to multiple Grade 1-winner Life Is Good in the Grade 1 Woodward in October here ahead of an even fifth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November at Keeneland.
He made his seasonal debut a winning one with a 7 1/2-length romp in the nine-furlong Queens County on January 7 at the Big A, but was a distant third last out in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap on February 18 at Oaklawn Park.
The Kentucky homebred is out of the multiple stakes-winning Ghostzapper mare Haunted Heroine – a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Celestine, who won the 2016 Grade 1 Longines Just a Game at Belmont Park.
Atras debuted Huntington, a half-brother to Law Professor by Uncle Mo, in Race 6 on Saturday here over a good main track. The 3-year-old bay gelding, also a Kentucky homebred for Twin Creeks Racing, settled near the back of the pack in the one-mile tilt and made a middle move before racing greenly at the top of the lane and settling for sixth.
“This horse shows some ability in the mornings, but still acts a little green mentally,” Atras said. “He was a little spooky in the paddock and the weather didn’t help, but he made a middle move before the wind hit him and knocked him sideways. He’ll be OK. There’s definitely some ability there and he just needs a couple starts to figure it out.”
Robert Derr’s New York-bred Rossa Veloce has made her last five starts at the Big A since being claimed for $32,000 in September at Saratoga, winning four times led by a last-out gate-to-wire romp under Manny Franco in the six-furlong Correction against open company.
The 5-year-old Girolamo mare, a $12,000 purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale, has banked $476,510 through a record of 25-9-4-2.
Her recent run of form includes a 5 1/4-length romp in an open optional-claiming tilt on January 27 ahead of her Correction coup by the same margin. She garnered a career-best 102 Beyer four starts back when a half-length winner over graded-stakes placed Beguine in November.
Atras said he was pleased to see Rossa Veloce break through at stakes level.
“I thought she ran great. We expected her to run good, and she got a great break and went on with it,” Atras said. “She came into the race great, so we were expecting that effort. Her last two races have been real nice.”
Atras said he has nominated Rossa Veloce to the seven-furlong Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff Handicap for older fillies and mares on April 7 at the Big A.
“It’s probably going to be pretty tough. Seven [furlongs] is not her preferred distance, so we’ll see,” Atras said. “We don’t want to ship her and we want to keep Manny with her, so we’ll look at it.”