BALTIMORE, Md.— Respect the Valleys, Designated Hitters Racing and Karmac Stable’s 2-year-old colt Roan Burgundy got his racing career off to a successful start with a professional maiden special weight victory Friday at historic Pimlico Race Course.
As the 1-2 favorite crossed the wire 1 ¾ lengths in front after going six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:12.01, track announcer Dave Rodman said, “Don’t act like you’re not impressed” – a reference to dialogue spoken by titular character Ron Burgundy in the movie Anchorman.
Roan Burgundy, by multiple Grade 1 winner The Factor, fetched $70,000 during Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale in May at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. He had put in nine timed works over Laurel’s main track since early June for his unveiling.
“We like him a lot. He always did everything right in the morning,” winning trainer Brittany Russell said. “We just backed off him a bit when we got him out of the sale, but he was actually quite fit when we bought him. Once we kind of got to tightening the screws it was obvious that he had a little bit of ability, so we felt pretty good today.”
Roan Burgundy and jockey Sheldon Russell drew Post 3 but wound up breaking from the rail following four early scratches including the two horses to his inside. He was outrun to the front by Landon Jack and pressed the leader through splits of 23.86 and 46.81 seconds before edging past on the outside in mid-stretch following five furlongs in 59.08. Landon Jack was a clear second, eight lengths ahead of Master of None.
“I knew he wasn’t quick enough to be in front of [Landon Jack], but Sheldon was able to work out a good trip. It was a perfect first experience,” Russell said. “I think we’ll take our time with him. He’s a big colt anyway, so he’ll be better as he goes on.”
Notes: Jockey Angel Cruz notched back-to-back winners Friday aboard Better Call Mama ($10.60) in Race 6 and Assembly Point ($6.80) in Race 7 … Pimlico’s 10-race program Saturday (12:40 p.m. first post) includes five races scheduled for the turf that drew a total of 55 entries, averaging 11 starters per race. Race 2 is a maiden special weight for 2-year-olds sprinting five furlongs on the grass featuring five first-time starters including Barb’s Pride, a Maryland-bred son of Shaman Ghost trained by Dale Capuano for Steve Newby – the same connections that won the $75,000 Ben’s Cat and $100,000 Bald Eagle Derby on turf over successive weekends this summer at Laurel … Race 5 is a maiden special weight for horses ages 3, 4 and 5 going six furlongs on the dirt. Trainer Brittany Russell will send out Eight and Sand, adding blinkers off a sixth-place effort in debut Aug. 10 at Colonial Downs.
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo by Maryland Jockey Club