IRISH-BRED GETS FIRST STATESIDE WIN FOR O’NEILL AS HE COVERS MILE ON GRASS IN 1:36.16
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 23, 2015)–Irish-bred Ernest Shackleton sat a close third early and ran gamely late to win Friday’s $58,000 allowance feature by a half length, providing America’s Eclipse Award winning apprentice jockey Drayden Van Dyke with his first-ever win as a journeyman, covering one mile on turf in 1:36.16.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, Ernest Shackleton wheeled three-wide turning for home to notch his first stateside win, which followed a non-threatening seventh place performance in his U.S. debut, the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes, on Dec. 27.
“I thought Drayden rode a perfect race, he rode like a journeyman,” said the ever-complimentary O’Neill. “I just told him this horse has ‘Euro-tactical’ speed, which means you want to get him covered up, but keep after him. When he saw daylight, he came running.
“As far as Drayden is concerned, I really think he’s a lot like Shoemaker. He’s small, light and he’s very quiet, on the horses he rides and with the people (he deals with). I sure wish him the best.”
Off at 2-1 in a field of eight 3-year-olds, Ernest Shackleton paid $6.60, $3.80 and $3.00, following a claim of foul for interference in deep stretch from Elvis Trujillo, who rode the second place finisher, Verraco.
“We did come out a little bit, we might have come out a path, but that’s about it,” said Van Dyke, who turned 20 in September. When asked how it felt to get his first win on his first day riding as a journeyman, Van Dyke responded simply, “It feels great.”
Owned by R3 Racing, Cahill, Keh and partners, Ernest Shackleton got his second win from six starts and with the winner’s share of $34,800, increased his earnings to $53,018.
Off at 6-1, Verraco mounted a stretch rally on the far outside, but ended up second best, finishing 1 ¾ lengths in front of Dynamite Ride. Verraco paid $5.00 and $4.20.
Off at 9-1 with Tyler Baze up, Dynamite Ride sat second to pacesetter Bluegrass Sight and tired late to finish third by a head over Bluegrass Sight and paid $5.40 to show.
Even money favorite Willing to Travel stumbled at the break with Rafael Bejarano and was next to last after the first half mile. He made a menacing move around the far turn, but flattened out through the drive, finishing a non-theatening fifth.
Fractions on the race were 23.64, 48.16, 1:12.18 and 1:24.11.
Saturday is Sunshine Millions/California Cup Day at Santa Anita and there will be special early first post time at 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.