Carolyn Wilson’s Wellabled was heavily supported at the windows and did not disappoint when wiring Saturday’s seven-furlong Grade III $ 100,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington International Racecourse.
Trained by Larry Rivelli, the son of Shackleford was an impressive winner at Arlington on July 9 in his first career start and backed that sharp effort up with a game runner-up finish on the turf in the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 19. Returning to the scene of his debut win, he was sent to the lead by rider E. T. Baird through splits of 23.42, 46.08 and 1:11.24 and turned away a pair of challenges before widening his lead in the late stages to record a 7¾-lengths victory in a hand-timed final clocking of 1:24.70.
Nancy Vanier et. al’s Brian Williamson-trained Romeo O Romeo settled off the early pace while always in range and made a menacing move off the far turn into the stretch before evening out in the final yards to settle for second under Carlos Marquez, Jr. Belinda Bateman’s Star Empire (GB) prompted the winner early but faded to third, another head back under Tyler Gaffialone for trainer Wesley Ward.
“He’s a real intelligent horse; he has a really good head on him,” Baird said of the winner. “The first time I ever rode this horse Larry told me he really liked this horse a lot and thought a lot of him, and he’s proven that to be true. I wasn’t even close to being worried [about the runner-up], he just did what I asked him to do and he did it like a real racehorse.”
“The sky’s the limit for this horse,” Rivelli added. “I’m not so sure about other surfaces, I took him to Saratoga and worked him on the dirt a couple of times and he didn’t seem to like it, that’s why I chose to run him on the turf. His breeding suggests he’ll run long.”
Wellabled won for the second time in three career starts and earned $ 57,000 for the victory, boosting his career bankroll to $ 96,200 while returning $ 5, $ 3.20 and $ 2.40. Romeo O Romeo paid $ 5.40 and $ 3.40, with Star Empire returning $ 2.80.
Stand and Cheer, Seven Forty Seven, St. Louie Guy, Maxus, Oso Ready, Ptolemy and Birdsnest Party completed the order of finish. Brave Benny and En Hanse were scratched.
One race earlier on the card, the 82nd running of the $ 75,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie was won by Empyrean Stables and Two Princesses Stable’s Diadura. Sent to post as the 3-2 wagering favorite in a field of 11, the daughter of Hard Spun broke smartly under rider C. H. Marquez, Jr. and settled well off the pace as they moved up the backstretch early. The Mike Stidham trainee raced inside the eventual runner-up, Shortleaf Stable’s Benner Island, behind opening fractions of 22.07 and 44.95, made an opening in the wall of fillies turning for home to hit the front as they passed the three-quarters mark in 1:11.70, then increased her margin in the stretch to win by 5½ lengths in a time of 1:25.10 for the seven furlongs. Brad Cox trainee Benner Island waited for room at the top of the stretch under jockey Julio Felix before running on to gain second by three-quarters of a length over DARRS, Inc.’s Mike Stidham-trained R Naja, ridden by Mitchell Murrill.
“You see these horses all coming from five-eighths of a mile, and to go seven-eighths they’ll all be sending,” Marquez said. “They went 22 and 44 [seconds], and my filly is very versatile, you can do whatever you want with her, so I just saved all the ground, and when I hit the trigger she was there.”
“I think the sky’s the limit for her, she’s very, very talented as you can see,” Stidham said after the race. “She’s shown that today. She’s shown that in the mornings and she shows up in the afternoon, so we’re hoping for big things.”
Diadura paid $ 5, $ 3.40 and $ 2.60. Benner Island returned $ 5.40 and $ 3.80, while R Naja paid $ 5.40. With the winner’s share of $ 42,300 Diadura increased her career earnings to $ 57,660 with two wins in two lifetime starts.
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