Tom’s Ready (More Than Ready) and jockey Joel Rosario win the Woody Stephens (Gr II)
G M B Racing’s Tom’s Ready was the 1 1/4-length winner of Saturday’s Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park, flying through traffic from dead last to earn his very first graded stakes victory. The sophomore son of More Than Ready, 12th in the Kentucky Derby, turned back to cover seven furlongs in 1:21.38 for trainer Dallas Stewart.
With a multitude of speed signed on in the race, Tom’s Ready’s late-running style proved to be the winning advantage. The colt broke last under Joel Rosario, and was unhurried early, nearly 13 lengths off the pace. The speedy Justin Squared took a one-length lead on the front end, setting fractions of :21.77 and :44.45 while chased by Fish Trappe Road, Sharp Azteca and Imperial Hint. Mid-way through the turn, Justin Squared folded to the pressure of Fish Trappe Road; the latter held a half-length advantage at the head of the lane.
Tom’s Ready had begun to make his move at the three-eighths pole, gliding up the inside rail until Rosario angled him out at the head of the lane. Meanwhile, Fish Trappe Road was busy holding off Star Hill on the lead, but Tom’s Ready was the only horse making up ground late. Swinging from the far outside to the inside of his last two rivals, Tom’s Ready hit the front end with time to spare, crossing the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front of Fish Trappe Road. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Star Hill in third, and Sharp Azteca finished fourth.
Bred in Pennsylvania by Blackstone Farm, Tom’s Ready was a $ 145,000 yearling purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Sale. The Woody Stephens is his first graded stakes win, though he had placed multiple times and earned enough points to contest the Kentucky Derby this year. His career record now stands at 2-4-0 from 11 starts, with earnings of over $ 600,000.
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