Mare Gets Redemption from 2017 Runner-Up Finish
By Dick Downey
Connections quotes by Jennie Rees
:Photo by Reed Palmer Photography
The seventh running of the $360,000, 1 5/16-mile Ramsey Stakes for fillies and mares was won by Tricky Escape and a tricky ride by Chris DeCarlo.
Staged on the final day of the 2018 Kentucky Downs meeting, the Ramsey Stakes wasn't won by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, but Ken Ramsey, who was in attendance, nevertheless claimed a seventh straight owner's title and ninth overall.
DeCarlo gunned to the lead with Tricky Escape and stayed there around the narrow first turn, up the backstretch and around the sweeping far turn. Initial fractions were not too fast for the distance: 26.43 for the first quarter-mile, 52.86 for the half and 1:17.78 for six furlongs. That said, Tricky Escape appeared to be wilting a bit with a mile gone in 1:42.11. Res Ipsa stuck his head in front with the stretch drive in front of the field, and Creative Thinking and Sea Swift (IRE) were right there, too, followed by Mom's on Strike, who was 10th and last after six furlongs, then Tricky Escape.
Tricky Escape wasn't done, though, but she looked beaten as she was second to Mom's on Strike by a length with a furlong left in the race.
As the finish line neared, Tricky Escape, the 2-1 second betting choice, was asked for more by DeCarlo, and she responded by getting up in the shadow of the wire to win by a head over Mom's on Strike, the 9-5 favorite. Res Ipsa finished third, beaten 3 1/4 lengths, followed another 2 1/4 lengths by Coco Channel.
The daughter of Hat Trick (JPN) pulled off a hat trick of her own with his third straight win after victories in the Grade III Robert G. Dick Memorial at Delaware Park and the Waya Stakes at Saratoga. She was second here in last year's Ramsey.
Bred in Kentucky by Robert B. Trussel and John T. L. Jones III, Tricky Escape is out of the Petionville mare Island Escape. The winning owner is Jon A. Marshall.
The race was timed in 2:13.40. Tricky Escape returned to her $2 bettors $6.00 to win, $3.00 to place and $2.40 to show. The win was the seventh in her 19 starts with five seconds and three thirds, and Tricky Escape's career earnings increased by $235,600 to $794,080.
The field for the Ramsey was rounded out by Shezaprado, Violet Blue, Lottie, Creative Thinking, Sea Swift (IRE) and Space Cadet. Daring Duchess, who had a legitimate shot in the race, was scratched by Ramsey to remain in training with his grandson Nolan at Woodbine. Ramsey appeared in the winner's circle after the race to claim his trophy.
Winning trainer Lynn Ashby, second with Tricky Escape in the stakes last year: “And remember all that rain we had, and she had the worse going down on the rail, and she was the only one closing most of the whole day. I just really wanted another chance to bring her back here, and John agreed. It’s so perfect, though it was close. It was a nice race.”
(On versatility) “She takes her racetrack with her. As Chris said, she is very special. we do train on all different terrains with her, and she takes to it. If she doesn’t, she’ll come back next time and go, ‘Oh, yeah, this is what I like.’ We train her on the hills. We train her cross country. We train her on the turf course, on the dirt. It is amazing how versatile she truly is.
“She’s just a stronger filly because we raced her so lightly. She ran once as a 3-year-old. So her 4-year-old season was her come-out season. But this year it’s almost like instead of a 5-year-old that I have a 4-year-old. You know how they’ll just season and change and get stronger. And that’s what she’s showing us this year.”
Lynn’s main business is breaking yearlings. “We’re getting ready to have a bunch of these Keeneland babies show up in Delaware to be Delaware-certified. We do about 75, 100 a year and I keep about 10 race horses that I train.”
Chris DeCarlo, winning rider: “I think she knows where the wire is. The plan wasn’t to be in front but I didn’t want to take a lot of energy out of her by trying to wrangle her back. She got clear a little bit, she kind of relaxed, and I just rode the race from there and waited as long as I could. She put a good neck on me, and I was like ‘Aw, man. She isn’t going to get there.’ But then when we hit a little bit before the sixteenth pole, I saw that filly start to come back, and my filly never quit. She’s all heart. She’ll gut it out to the wire.”
Owner Jon Marshall “This is just fantastic, an incredible, incredible race. And Lynn has done such an incredible job with this filly, the whole team. We’ve got a wonderful team of people.” (Note: Marshall lives in Houston, and is retired from the offshore drilling business)
Trainer Joe Sharp, second with Mom’s On Strike: “It was a nice filly that beat us. She beat us on dirt at Saratoga and came back and beat us on grass. We were about four heads away from a good meet.” (Sharp also was second in a photo in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile with Tracksmith on opening day). “She ran hard. Hat’s off to the winner. She carved out all the fractions and dug back in after getting piece. We ran our race but she definitely ran hers.”
Adam Beschizza, second on Mom’s On Strike: “I had a beautiful trip. She stays a mile and a half, so (today's distance) is not a problem. They went a nice healthy gallop the whole way around. I got a beautiful run into it, came to the fore at the right time. She just has a little tendency to idle inside the sixteenth. But she’s full of talent, this filly. I have a lot of heart for her. She’s definitely been huge to my career. I’ve won maybe four or five stakes on her. In all fairness we can’t be too harsh on her. She ran a gallant race. She’s just getting a little bit long in the tooth. She knows where the winning line is now, and you have to time it to perfection. But she still has stacks of ability and she’s not done yet. I’ve got a lot of respect for her. She’s done a lot for my career.”
Julien Leparoux, third on Res Ipsa: “She did very good. She ran a good race. She got a little tired. She was on her game today. She ran a great race. The distance was a little bit of a question with her. Early on her career she was kind of headstrong, pulling a lot. But she changed a lot lately, and she relaxed good. And the distance was great. She had no problem with it. She just got beat today, but she ran a big race.”