Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm LLC’s RESTLESS RIDER dominated her seven rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs, romping home an effortless 11 1/4-length winner under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
The gray juvenile daughter of Distorted Humor sped up along the inside as Payntermaniac set a swift early pace in :21.41, but had to check abruptly when the leader suddenly went wrong and was pulled up in front of her.
Regaining her momentum, the Kenny McPeek trainee re-rallied six wide on the turn to take over in the lane. From there Restless Rider merely extended her lead to finish six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:10.62.
Sent off the even-money favorite, Restless Rider returned $4.20 for the win. Shanghai Rain, the 5-2 second choice, followed in the runner-up spot while Beach Getaway took third another 2 1/4 lengths behind. Hay Dilly rounded out the top four under the wire and was followed by My Wynter Rose, O’Keeffe and Miss Mission. Payntermaniac was vanned off.
Restless Rider tripled her career earnings to $91,360 while improving her career mark to a perfect two-for-two. The gray miss broke her maiden by 2 3/4 lengths in her debut on June 8 at Churchill Downs sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, Restless Rider is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Silky Serenade, who is a half-sister to multiple Grade 2-winning sire Private Vow.
A few races after the Debutante Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc.’s C Z ROCKET posted a four-length victory in the $68,130 Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan. The four-year-old son of City Zip ran seven furlongs on the fast dirt in 1:21.51 for trainer Al Stall Jr. to earn his first stakes score.
Brian Hernandez Jr., jockey Restless Rider, winner
“That was super impressive. The filly on the inside of us got into trouble and forced us to change our position. You don’t really see young horses like this recover as she did. She switched leads nicely in the stretch and was powerful. It really leaves you speechless.”
Greg Grier, assistant trainer Restless Rider, winner
“You don’t see horses get completely stopped and come back to win by (11 1/4 lengths), let alone young horses. She is super impressive. We were confident with her training coming into the race and thought she’d run a big effort. In her first race she got into a lot of trouble behind the starting gate but we worked with her in the mornings to get her better at the gate. She was really professional today.”
Bret Calhoun, trainer Shanghai Rain, second
“It looks like a really, really nice filly (Restless Rider) won the race. She took all the worst of it and got stopped hard, and came back and won. It looks like my filly ran her race – take nothing away from her. The winner was just much the best.”
Gabriel Saez, jockey Shanghai Rain, second
“My filly ran a tremendous race, but we were just beaten by one that was just much the best. Beside the issues around the turn she still came back and beat us. She did everything good. I’m just glad she finished up and she pulled up well. She galloped out like she might stretch out a little bit, so hopefully she’ll stay sound and we’ll go from there. It was a good second for us.”
Ben Colebrook, trainer Beach Getaway, third
“I thought she ran great. Obviously she didn’t get bothered as much as the winner, but she didn’t have the greatest of trips and to still get up for third and get the black type – we’re over the moon. Nobody was beating the winner today. That was probably the most impressive two-year-old performance of the year, if not the last couple. That was freakish.”
Joe Rocco Jr., jockey Beach Getaway, third
“She broke good. I got decent position early. They went really fast and she settled off of them. When that horse (Payntermaniac went amiss) on the turn took Brian (Hernandez Jr. on Restless Rider) out and cost me some there also. But my horse got back into rhythm and made a run – I was surprised. Brian’s horse just kept getting further away from me, but my horse got it together and put in a gutsy effort to run third.”