Blindwillie McTell overcomes stumble to win Rego Park Stakes

Sunday, January 13th, 2019

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

In his second lifetime start in mid-December, Jerold Zaro’s homebred Blindwillie McTell made a splash by breaking his maiden with a nice-looking 2 1/2-length victory in the Great White Way Division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series over a sloppy, sealed racetrack.

Returning to action 28 days later on Sunday for the third start of his young career, the bay Posse gelding scored a second straight stakes victory in Aqueduct’s $100,000 Rego Park for newly-minted New York-bred 3-year-olds after managing to overcome the adversity of a stumbling start.

Reunited with Dylan Davis, his Great White Way pilot, Blindwillie McTell was was bet down to even money by post time, despite the robust field of nine that remained after the scratches of Strive for a Cure and Bustin to Be Loved. The wagering public seemed confident that he could stretch his speed out from 6 to 6 1/2 furlongs and would only improve while making in his first career start on “fast” dirt track.

The controlling speed on paper from post two, Blindwillie McTell ended up plenty of company on the front end after he nearly went to his knees after the bell.

Bydawnsearlylight (31-1) was hustled to the front from his inside post, while Blindwillie McTell neatly got his feet back under him and pressed in the two-path. Directly to their outside Funny Guy (37-1) and Show Prince (44-1) also joined the battle. Kadens Courage (Frost Giant) tucked in behind the vanguard in fifth as the opening quarter-mile went in 22.63.

Bydawnsearlylight began to fade in the approach to the far turn, leaving Blindwillie McTell to take the field into the bend but he was still dogged by Funny Guy and Show Prince. Also, late in the bend the white-faced Kadens Courage, third in the Great White Way, rode the rail into second.

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

In upper stretch Blindwillie McTell kicked two lengths clear, but Kadens Courage seemed determined to make a horse race out of it. Tipping out and fully extended under leading jockey Manny Franco, Kadens Courage managed to erode Blindwillie McTell’s advantage in the lane, but could not quite get to his rival, who crossed the finish line a three-quarter-length winner. Another 1 1/4 lengths behind the top two Thorny Tale, the Great White Way runner-up, got his neck on front of Show Prince to win a photo for third.

Crossing the finish line next in order were Kazmania, Tiergan, Just Right, Funny Guy and Bydawnsearlylight. Blindwillie McTell completed the half in 46.28, three quarters in 1:12.01 and stopped the clock at 1:18.99 after 6 1/2 furlongs. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Jockey Dylan Davis recounted a tale of resorting to “Plan B,” after Blindwillie McTell’s tough start and then having to guide this lightly-raced runner though a new set of circumstances.

“The first plan was to come out running,” Davis said. “He won [the Great White Way] coming off the pace; that was the second plan. He took a little stumble out of there and got me a little worried, but I got him into gear, and he put himself right there. I was a little worried about being in-between horses, but he handled it well. He put away [Bydawnsearlylight] to the inside and then was going his own way.”

Davis concluded, “This horse loves pressure. He loves the horses being with him and he’s a fighter. He finds extra gears. I was a little worried because in the turn, he got a little relaxed. But when the horses came up to him, he found [a way].”

Rice commented, “Fortunately, Dylan [Davis] was able to stay on after the break. He was very game today. It was a good effort we wanted him to be up front early, and thankfully after the break Dylan was able to put him in a position to get up front. I don’t think he’s necessarily a horse that needs the lead. His first race he sat off the pace and made a late run.

As to the future, Rice said, “Going forward, I still think he’s a horse that may be able to stretch out. We’re just going to enjoy this win right now and weigh our options at a distance somewhere between six furlongs to a mile.”

Foaled at Rockridge Stud in Hudson, Blindwillie McTell is out of Bold Child, a Pennsylvania-bred mare by Flatter who earned a stakes placing as a juvenile. Bold Child has produced five winners from five foals to start led by Young Anna Lee, a full sister to Blindwillie McTell, who finished second in the Lynbrook Stakes in 2015.

Bold Child, who was originally purchased by trainer Tim Hills for $30,000 at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic selected yearling sale, has also produced a juvenile full brother to Blindwillie McTell named Blackjack Davey, a short yearling colt by Freud named Thunderbird Cafe and was bred back to Freud in 2018.


Leave a Reply