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El Padrino 2nd with Exceptional Effort at Spa
Monday, August 22, 2011 | RSS Feeds

El Padrino 2nd with Exceptional Effort at Spa

August 22, 2011

The race, comprised a very capable 12 horse field with 4 previous starters and one regally bred son of A.P. Indy, looked very tough on paper. Although our confidence in this colt's ability and talent is unwavering, we were asking quite a bit with a debut at Saratoga going 7 furlongs — a challenge we thought he could handle and would prefer over a shorter distance.

As many of you saw, our colt looked amazing in the paddock. He was very professional in this new environment and handle it very well. Once out on the racetrack, jockey John Velazquez broke off from the pony and started to warm up around the first turn and into backstretch. Post time was near, and El Padrino looked cool and comfortable. Going into the gate, El Padrino had no issues. He stood calmly with his head straight while the others loaded. 

They opened the gate, and El Padrino broke quietly while the 2 horse stumbled on his inside. Not expecting El Padrino to be on or just off the pace, he was still a bit slow into stride spotting the leader and eventual winner B Shanny 9 lengths while running 9th in an opening 1/4 mile in :23.01.

Traveling well on the rail throughout the backstretch, El Padrino experienced quite a bit of kickback (dirt in the face), and handled it very well. It is quite common for a first-time starter to react poorly to kickback, but El Padrino was undaunted and looked strong, yet still some 9 lengths back and in 8th through 1/2 mile in :46.21.

Going into the second turn, Velazquez and El Padrino started to move up along the rail. Gathering momentum with each stride, Velaquez felt his colt responding very well. Coming out of the turn, Velazquez guides El Padrino around a tiring 2 horse, Zellers. Passing with ease, Velazquez takes El Padrino back to the rail to unleash a powerful stretch drive.

Passing the 1/8 pole, El Padrino had his work cut out for him. B Shanny had spurted clear by at least 2 lengths and was still driving deep stretch. Then, with a final surge, El Padrino came roaring up the rail with B Shanny now in his sights.

Having to angle out, forcing the 4 horse, Grandpa Len, to alter the course, El Padrino was gaining with every stride, but had to settle for 2nd beaten 3/4 of a length in a final time of 1:24.03 - he simply "ran out of real estate". Only a few more strides past the wire, and El Padrino has a head in front. He galloped out exceptionally well and looked good coming back. 

To watch the Race Replay, CLICK HERE

El Padrino did everything but win. Impressive to say the least, we're thrilled with this performance. This kind of an effort, while factoring the education he gained, gives this colt a tremendous foundation to build on. Velazquez was very impressed with how El Padrino not only responded, performed and finished up, but also how he handle himself throughout. Todd Pletcher too was equally impressed and very pleased with how El Padrino ran.