By Dick Downey
Pat Lang Photography
Crop Report, winner of the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park, will not be sent to the Kentucky Derby, owner Barry Irwin said today.
Irwin, head of Team Valor International, who sponsored the Rushaway after it had been written off this year, cited Crop Report's May 31 foal date and immaturity as the reasons. However, he said the colt might be a good candidate for the Belmont Stakes.
Irwin declined to name a next race for Crop Report, saying he wants to see how he comes out of the race.
Joel Rosario, aboard Crop Report, was at the rear of the six-horse field up the backstretch, but he asked Crop Report heading into the final turn and took the lead in mid-stretch to put away pacesetter Divine Ambition. The race was timed in 1:45.66.
Following Divine Ambition across the finish line were Red Wings, Take the Sloroad, J. J. Got Even and Bet a Bundle.
Irwin also commented on Crop Report's stable mate Cerro, saying he had been knocked out by a hot pace in the Grade III Holy Bull in late January and that he wouldn't race again until he put together two consecutive good workouts. The Santa Anita Derby is a race that's been looked at, Irwin said.
Trained by Graham Motion, Crop Report is a son of Medaglia d'Oro bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm. He's out of the Crafty Prospector mare Amarillo.
David Rock, assistant to Graham Motion: “I was a little concerned. We hoped he would show a little more speed, but we knew he would finish up. The horse gave himself a lot to do. He’s European and a big horse, so maybe the gate’s a little small to him. Owners are talking about running him in the Blue Grass Stakes. The further distance certainly will help.”
Joel Rosario: “"(The last race) was his first time here (in the United States). He proved today that he can run, but I was kind of worried when we passed the 3/8 pole. But he was catching horses so quickly, he got the job done today. I was concerned coming around the far turn because it took a while for him to get going. When we started running, he just went. At the top of the stretch, he was moving a lot better than the horse on the inside. After that, I just let him get it together."
Barry Irwin of Team Valor International: On presenting the winner’s trophy to himself: “It’s pretty weird! I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but I guess I was. It’s the first time I ever sponsored a race, and it was fun. I think we’ll do it again.”
On the race: “I don’t know if he did improve today, to tell you the truth. He might have run the same race he ran at Gulfstream. We’ve never had a horse like this. He’s a May 31st foal. When he works in the morning, when he’s in motion, he’s as good as Animal Kingdom. But he’s so immature and so klutzy away from the gate that he gives up five, seven, eight lengths at the start. He’s not going to make the Derby, but I think he’s an exciting prospect for a race like the Belmont.
On a possible start in the Blue Grass: “I don’t know. We’ll see how he comes back. He did kind of sharpen up since the last race since we put blinkers on him. But you saw him. He just isn’t interested in the race in the beginning.”
Darrin Miller, trainer, Divine Ambition: “I thought he ran his race. He showed he’s game. He got outrun for sure, but he battled back a little bit against that horse, so that was encouraging. The Coolmore may be next, but we’ll wait and see.”
Corey Lanerie, Divine Ambition, second: “I tried to slow it down as much as I could. He broke really sharp, and looking at the Racing Form, I thought I’d be in front, especially when the 4 horse (Honorable Guest, scratched in the post parade after running off) didn’t make it to the gate. He broke out of there and the race went just like I thought. It was a little quicker than I wanted the first part, but then we slowed it down pretty good. I think he just got outrun today by a little bit better horse.”