Ramblin’ Wreck Follows in Brother’s Hoofsteps With $150K NYSSS Spectacular Bid Triumph

June 18, 2023

Ears up, Ramblin’ Wreck captures the NYSSS Spectacular Bid in last to first fashion (Chelsea Durand)

By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office

ELMONT, N.Y.— Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Peter Searles and Patty Searles’ New York-bred Ramblin’ Wreck rallied from last-of-8 to claim a one-length victory in Sunday’s co-featured $150,000 NYSSS Spectacular Bid, a seven-furlong Widener turf sprint for eligible New York-sired sophomores, at Belmont Park.

Ramblin’ Wreck followed in the footsteps of his half-brother, Dakota Gold, to give trainer Danny Gargan and co-owner Reeves Thoroughbred Racing back-to-back wins in this event after Dakota Gold notched a three-quarter-length win in last year’s edition. Ramblin’ Wreck, by Redesdale and out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Dakota Kid, made his sophomore debut a winning one with a strong off-the-pace ride from the Belmont spring/summer meet’s current leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr.

“I love Dakota and he’s a great horse, but this colt [gelding] is probably as talented – maybe more,” said Gargan. “Dakota plays around a little bit in his races and this colt really focuses a lot. I’m lucky to have him and that Dean [Reeves, co-owner Reeves Thoroughbred Racing] has entrusted me to train both of them. They’re both nice horses.”

The first-time gelding was away slowly from post 5 and trailed the field as Ten Cent Town and Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez claimed the lead, racing just ahead of Itsallcomintogetha and maiden Vince the Prince through an opening quarter-mile in 22.91 seconds over the firm footing.

Ramblin’ Wreck continued to trail in last down the backstretch as Itsallcomintogetha ranged up on the outside to challenge Ten Cent Town while Vacation Dance attempted to advance between horses from fourth but was shuffled back with no room to split the pacesetters. Meanwhile, a loaded Twenty Six Black swung to the outside under Manny Franco and came into contention as the field rounded the turn through a half-mile in 46.39.

A patient Ortiz, Jr. nudged Ramblin’ Wreck for more at the top of the lane and made steady progress towards Twenty Six Black, who overtook the lead from a tiring Ten Cent Town and a stubborn Itsallcomintogetha to his inside. Twenty Six Black stuck his neck in front at the sixteenth pole, but Ramblin’ Wreck stormed home down the center of the course with large strides late to collar his foe just before the wire and complete the course in a final time of 1:21.21.

Twenty Six Black settled for place honors 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Itsallcomintogetha with Vacation Dance, Gem Mint Ten, Thethrillofvictory, Vince the Prince and Ten Cent Town completing the order of finish. Jackson Heights, Power Attack and main track-only entrant Willintoriskitall were scratched.

Gargan said he was confident Ramblin’ Wreck would have enough late to run down his rivals.

“He’s a two-turn horse and we knew we’d be sitting back and make a big run,” Gargan said. “We were just hoping we could catch them and it was pretty impressive how he run them down. They were still running at the end and they ran fast. I was very impressed with his race today. The turn-of-foot late was amazing. That’s a nice horse he run down and he went by him pretty handily.”

Ramblin’ Wreck after his one-length score in the NYSSS Spectacular Bid (Susie Raisher)

Ortiz, Jr., who won his second stakes this weekend at Belmont after taking the Grade 2 Bed o’ Roses with Goodnight Olive on Saturday, said the poor start dictated where Ramblin’ Wreck would be placed in the field.

“It was a slow start. After that, I just went to plan B and he did everything right,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “He was there for me. He waited for me and when I was ready to go, he went and got the job done. Plan A was to try to stay close to the leader. I didn’t have the speed to be involved with the first two or three horses, but I saw myself maybe three or four lengths off the speed. Things don’t go the way you want sometimes, so when I missed the break I just rode the horse. I let him be where he was comfortable and started moving forward little by little. He responded every time I asked him.”

Second time’s the charm for Ramblin’ Wreck (NYRA/Coglianese)

Bred in the Empire State by Ron Bowden, Ramblin’ Wreck broke his maiden at second asking in September at Belmont at the Big A before finishing off the board in the Grade 2 Pilgrim and Central Park over the same course. He ended his juvenile campaign with a second-place effort to General Banker in the NYSSS Great White Way on dirt ahead of a six-month respite that ended with his Spectacular Bid triumph. He returned $9.50 for a $2 win ticket and was awarded $82,500 in victory, now sporting a 6-2-1-0 record.

After last year’s Spectacular Bid, Gargan sent Dakota Gold out to a runner-up effort in the 1 1/16-mile state-bred Rick Violette and victory in the one-mile NYSSS Cab Calloway at Saratoga Race Course in his next two starts. Gargan said it is likely Ramblin’ Wreck will take the same path with the Cab Calloway slated for July 20 and the Violette scheduled for August 17.

“I plan on running him in the same two stakes as Dakota Gold. Dakota won this race last year off a big layoff,” said Gargan. “We turn our horses out over the winter and we gave Ramblin’ the time as well. Dakota hadn’t run since the Breeders’ Cup [5th in the Juvenile Turf], so it’s kind of the same deal.”

Franco, who rode Twenty Six Black in his stakes debut for conditioner Horacio De Paz, said his mount showed some greenness when asked to widen his brief advantage in the stretch.

“I feel like when my horse made the lead, he pulled himself [up] a little bit,” Franco said. “When the winner passed me, he tried to re-engage again. He’s still learning. The distance is fine, he’ll go the distance.”

Live racing resumes Thursday at Belmont with a nine-race card. First post is 1:05 p.m. 

@Tracking_Trips @jonathanstettin the pick 4 X 2 and the trifecta X2 in the classic...thanks for teaching me to approach races better.

R @rojoryn View testimonials