Piloted by Brian Hernandez Jr., Rattle N Roll lives up to his name in the Blame (JennyPhoto/Past The Wire)
Churchill Downs Press Release
LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Rattle N Roll, who broke from the inside post in a field of eight older horses, was bottled up along on the inside rail for most of the way in Saturday’s fourth running of the $225,000 Blame Stakes (GIII) at Churchill Downs but the 4-year-old colt found running room with three-sixteenths of mile to the finish and ran down Call Me Fast to win by 1 ¼ lengths on his way a third straight graded stakes victory. Happy American was another three-quarters of a length back in third.
Brian Hernandez Jr. rode the winner for trainer Kenny McPeek and owner Michael J. Mackin’s Lucky Seven Stable. Rattle N Roll clocked 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.93 over a “fast” track.
Just two weeks ago, Rattle N Roll won the $250,000 Pimlico Special (GIII) by a nose on Black-Eyed Susan Day. Prior to that, he won the $300,000 Ben Ali (GIII) at Keeneland by 1 ¼ lengths.
Barber Road, who finished sixth in last year’s Kentucky Derby (GI), was a surprise leader early on setting fractions of :23.98, :48.35 and 1:12.19 with Grade I turf winner Santin applying mild pressure in his dirt debut.
Rattle N Roll advanced to third down the backstretch in tight quarters along the inside. He was full of run around the final turn but was trapped behind the leader Barber Road, who maintained his path while racing on the rail. When the field left the turn and hit the top of the stretch, Barber Road drifted out ever so slightly which left a small inside opening for Rattle N Roll, who made contact with the rail while slipping through. Once clear, Rattle N Roll proved to be much the best as the 8-5 favorite.
“Two starts ago at Keeneland (Call Me Fast) closed late and we were able to hold him off,” Hernandez said. “Today, he got the first run on us but once I tipped my horse outside at the eighth pole he really responded well and finished up strong. This win is a credit to Kenny and his team. This horse always seems to show up and run well and he came back today on quick rest. But, Kenny and his team had him ready to go.”
Favorites won five of the six stakes races at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Rattle N Roll returned $5.48, $3.18 and $2.66. Call Me Fast, ridden by Julien Leparoux at 9-2, paid $4.44 and $4.12. Happy American, 14-1 under James Graham, paid $5.48 to show.
After Happy American, it was Barber Road, Santin, Pioneer of Media, Cooke Creek and Masqueparade.
The victory was worth $135,280 and increased Rattle N Roll’s bankroll to $1,501,141 with a record of 8-1-2 in 18 starts.
“I think this horse benefitted at the end of last year and into this year running in Grade IIs and Grade IIIs,” McPeek said. “It taught him to mature. Brian had this horse loaded at the rail and it got a little tight there in mid-stretch but it was a credit to him and the horse for being patient and getting room to close. Smile Happy and Rattle N Roll are both owned by the Mackin family and it’s a good problem to have moving forward with two very strong caliber horses for the classic races.”
Rattle N Roll is a Kentucky-bred son of Connect out of the Johannesburg mare Jazz Tune. He was bred by St. Simon Place.
The Blame is named after the 2010 Eclipse Award-winning older horse that handed Zenyatta her lone defeat in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Churchill Downs.