In a well-timed ride by jockey Leslie Mawing, Stryker PhD, got up to win by a head over G. G. Ryder to capture the $ 100,000 GIII Berkeley Handicap. Trained by Larry Ross, Stryker PhD, rallied from last to first on the stretch to overtake Bronze Star and Southern Freedom; both were on the pace for the first five furlongs, but weakened quickly in the stretch. The 1 1/16 mile was completed in 1:43.67. Stryker PhD paid $ 4.60 and was favored by the betting community as a 13-to-10 shot by race time.
“He’s been a very cool horse and a lot of fun to train,” said Ross. “Those closers like him he just has to get there. Today thats about as close as you want it to get.”
Mawing wasnt at all surprised by the results: “We clicked from the beginning. He’s got his own running style. He gives you that big quarter of a mile kick and that is just the way you got to ride him. I was so confident with today because he usually throws his antics prior to the race, sometimes he freezes up and wont want to load. But this time he was pretty calm, cool, and collected. So I knew he was bringing his game face today. And I was pretty confident once that happened. When the gates opened I knew there was going to be some early speed, but I was patient and waited until he told me. This horse you have to wait for him to tell you. There was one time I came from 20 lengths behind to win the race by three lengths.”
Ricardo Gonzalez also gave an impressive effort up to the end, but the wire just couldn’t come soon enough for him.
”He ran so great. I knew the five horse, Stryker PhD, would be coming, so I was just hoping the wire would come up first, but we got caught in the final strides. He really gave me a strong finish,” said Gonzalez.
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