Accomplished marathoner Lone Rock proved effective on the cutback to 1 1/8 miles in Saturday’s inaugural running of the $200,000 Tinsel S. at Oaklawn Park. Outlasting stablemate Thomas Shelby in deep stretch, the 9-5 favorite topped the exacta for trainer Robertino Diodoro.
Lone Rock bided his time in fourth early as Huge Bigly hustled to the lead through fractions of :23.31 and :47.80 on the muddy track. Thomas Shelby, who chased in second early, took command on the far turn, clocked 1:12.60 for six furlongs, and held sway into the lane.
Although Lone Rock was briefly strung up in traffic, jockey Ramon Vazquez found room on the inside when Huge Bigly retreated. The favorite drove through the seam to accost Thomas Shelby, while Beau Luminarie rallied to threaten wider out. Lone Rock’s stamina told late as he subdued Thomas Shelby by three-quarters of a length in 1:49.77.
“He’s a great horse,” Vazquez said. “I knew he was feeling good in his training, but he did scare me a little because he hadn’t run 1 1/8 miles in a long time. I knew I had a lot of horse. I was waiting for the perfect spot and the perfect moment to move my horse. When I found the hole, he took off.”
“Awesome,” Diodoro enthused. “Great ride by Ramon. He was in traffic trouble a good part of the race. He’s a big horse that was stuck down inside, which was a little concerning. But Ramon did a great job of getting him out of that, and hats off to both horses.
“Our other horse, Thomas Shelby, ran huge as well. He dug in, especially for not making the lead. He ran a hell of a race.”
“He ran a good race,” Thomas Shelby’s rider, David Cohen, said. “Kind of expected the one horse (Huge Bigly) to go out there like he did. Typically put mine on the front end, but I think mine really dug in and showed that he belongs in this type of race.”
Beau Luminarie reported home another half-length back in third, renewing trainer Rodolphe Brisset’s suspicion about his distance limitations.
“He ran really good,” Brisset said. “I’m not sure he wants to go that far. Every time he run a mile and eighth or farther, he looks like a winner at the eighth pole, and he has the tendency to hang a little bit. But he ran a good race.”
There was a 6 1/4-length gap back to Warrior’s Charge in fourth. Tenfold, Title Ready, and Huge Bigly rounded out the order under the wire.
Owned by Flying P Stable and R.A. Hill Stable, Lone Rock has now earned $1,144,921 from his 37-14-4-2 line. The son of Majestic Warrior was capping a banner year with victories in the Brooklyn (G2), Isaac Murphy Marathon, Birdstone S., and Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G2) in track-record time at Del Mar on Breeders’ Cup Saturday.
Lone Rock was bred in Kentucky by Town & Country Horse Farms and Pollock Farms and sold for $55,000 as a Fasig-Tipton July yearling. The bay gelding had been an occasional stakes competitor earlier in his career, his best result being a win in the 2018 Jeffrey A. Hawk Memorial at Remington Park. But he’s reached a new level since Diodoro claimed him for $40,000 out of a win at Churchill in November 2020.
Lone Rock’s juvenile half-sister, Gerrymander, captured the Tempted S. after placing second in the Frizette (G1). They were produced by the Grade 3-placed Ruby Lips, by Hard Spun. Ruby Lips is a half to multiple Canadian stakes scorer Like a Gem, herself the dam of multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Hard Not to Like. Since Hard Not to Like is also by Hard Spun, she’s a three-quarter sister to Ruby Lips.