Eagle gets his first graded stakes victory in the Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland last April
William S. Farish’s Grade I-placed, multiple stakes-winning homebred Eagle earned the bullet from the seven runners to work a half-mile on Monday morning at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The son of Candy Ride (ARG) got the distance in 48.80 for veteran conditioner Neil Howard. The work was his third since returning to training.
“He went nicely, so knock on wood,” Howard said. “So far he’s coming back well. He’s really a forward horse in his training, so you have to space his works and take your time, as he puts a lot into his gallops. He has matured a lot, which is a big thing for him, in particular. He was very strong-willed when he was young and he really has evolved into the consummate professional. He’s not big, like a lot of Candy Rides, but he’s so well-made and is a beautiful mover.”
Eagle has not raced since finishing fourth in the Grade II Suburban Handicap on July 9 at Belmont Park, an effort that followed a wide trip and near-miss three-quarter-length runner-up effort in the Grade I Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on Jun. 18.
“He ran a hard campaign and he didn’t duck anyone, so we decided to give him a really good long freshening,” Howard said. “He tries so hard. He may not be the best horse out there, but I tell you what — he will lay himself down for you and try harder than any of them. We will look at maybe the (Grade III $ 125,000) Mineshaft (Handicap on Feb. 25) for him, but we’re not completely sure yet. The timing is good and that seems like common sense.”
Eagle competed in 11 races, including eight stakes, between Sept. 2015 and July 2016. He finished first or second in eight of those, including victories in the Grade III Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland in April and $ 60,000 Tenacious Stakes at the Fair Grounds the previous December. He was second in Majestic Harbor’s Mineshaft by a head after an exciting stretch-long battle.
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