By Nicholas Godfrey
USA: American racing may have a new star for the turf mile division in the shape of Raging Bull (Chad Brown/Joel Rosario), who rallied six wide en route to an emphatic 2¼-length victory in a highly competitive Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita on Monday.
With six G1 winners in a ten-runner field (two scratches), among them Preakness Stakes hero War Of Will and Royal Ascot winner Without Parole, the $300,000 event could hardly have been any tougher in US turf terms.
Raging Bull, though, produced a decisive effort after being produced from near the back of the field well off a strong pace set by front-running Voodoo Song.
“He broke well and it looked like there was a good pace, he was very controlled,” said winning jockey Joel Rosario.
“He just came with his run like he does all the time. He put in a nice run. It’s beautiful, nice to be back here and be back in action.”
Despite a series of in-the-frame efforts in G1 company, Peter Brant’s five-year-old hadn’t won since the Hollywood Derby of 2018.
“He likes firm turf and he likes pace in front of him,” Brown said, speaking to the Daily Racing Form. “We tried longer races last year like the Manhattan but he wasn’t quite up to it.”
He was sent off 29-10 second favourite behind Without Parole – trapped on the rail before coming third, a half-length behind Next Shares, who was severely hampered at the gate and raced detached from the field until a late charge.
War Of Will passed the post in fifth on his return to turf before being demoted to sixth for the interference at the start.
The Shoe Mile was the first US Breeders’ Cup ‘Win & You’re In’ Challenge qualifier of the year, providing a fees-paid berth to the Mile at Keeneland on November 6.
On the same card, Keeper Ofthe Stars (Jonathan Wong/Abel Cedillo) sprinted home to win the G1 Gamely Stakes and complete a four-timer at Santa Anita for his jockey.
For Golden Gate Fields-based trainer Jonathan Wong, it was a landmark first G1 success. “I’m over the moon right now,” he said by phone when contacted by the Santa Anita media team.
“I’m really speechless – this is my first Grade 1, so I’m off the schneid! Now that she’s learned to relax, the sky’s the limit with her.”
Odds-on favourite Jolie Olimpica (Richard Mandella/Mike Smith) was too good in the G2 Monrovia Stakes over 5½f.