HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022) – In a race billed as the return of 2021 Rebel Stakes (G2) winner Concert Tour, it was Danny Caldwell’s 9-year-old veteran Rated R Superstar that stole the show. Concert Tour, the 3-2 post time favorite, faded to ninth after pressing the pace early.
Rated R Superstar was unhurried at the start as expected pace setter Mucho took control through fractions of :23 1/5 and :46 4/5 for the first half mile. The winner moved into contention leaving the backstretch, swung to the outside around the turn and came three wide into the stretch before getting up in the final strides to win by a neck over Mucho. Thomas Shelby, the 2-1 second choice, finished third. The final time was 1:37 for one mile over a fast track.
“The horse did all the work,” Caldwell said. “We gave him a break and (trainer) Frederico (Villafranco) did a great job bringing him back. David Cabrera gave him a perfect ride. He’s one of those hard-knocking horses that just knows his job.”
Rated R Superstar, a Kodiak Kowboy gelding who Caldwell claimed last January at Oaklawn for $50,000, improved his record to 10-10-8 in 57 starts and he has now earned $1,271,014. He returned $53.80, $16.20 and $6.20 at odds of 25-1.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Oaklawn with a 12:30 p.m. first post.
Winning owner Danny Caldwell, Rated R Superstar: “The horse did all the work. We gave him a break and (trainer) Frederico (Villafranco) did a great job bringing him back. David Cabrera gave him a perfect ride. He’s one of those hard-knocking horses that just knows his job.
“I just told (trainer) Bret Calhoun, who was sitting at my table and who had just won the last, I said whatever this horse gives me is a bonus because he doesn’t owe me anything. I knew going into this race he was feeling good and doing well. But, they’re only going a mile and we’ve got a lot speed in the race and it should set up for him. But, who knows off a break. You never know.”
Winning jockey David Cabrera, Rated R Superstar: “The pace went out early and to be honest, I just let him run his race the whole way. I rode him a couple of times before so it was great that I knew him. Down the lane, I got a kick that was perfect. I was a little bit worried that I wouldn’t get there because I was a little bit wide. He gave me all he had, so that’s all you can ask for.”
Trainer John Ortiz, second with Mucho: “Because we drew so far wide, I thought we were going to be able to funnel our way into a stalking position because we were ones that were going to cover the most ground. When he took the lead, it did not surprise me and I told Flo (Florent Geroux) just let the horse do his thing. Don’t ever fight him. Don’t ask him. If he puts you up there, then you control the pace. He sure did that. I’m not surprised at all with the results. But gosh, you hate to lose one like that. He ran a winning race. To run second, it’s heartbreaking.”
Jockey Joel Rosario, ninth with favorite Concert Tour: “He hadn’t run for a little while. He was there for a little while and looked like he a lost a little focus the last part of the race. We’ll see how he comes back the next time.”
Oaklawn Park Press Release
Photo: Rated R Superstar (Coady Photo)