‘Ready’ rewards Oaklawn rookie trainer

Article courtesy of The Sentinel-Record.

By Bob Wisener

Using his horses as calling cards, Horacio DePaz is making introductions at major tracks across the country. A suggested working title for his autobiography is “Six Days in April.”

In that time, the former exercise rider for Todd Pletcher has won races at Keeneland and Oaklawn Park with the first horses at each track with his name on the program as trainer.

DePaz took his Oaklawn bow Thursday with Recruiting Ready, a runaway winner by 5 1/4 lengths in the $150,000 Bachelor for 3-year-old sprinters. It was the first stakes win both for the trainer and in six tries for the Algorithms colt bred at historic Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky. Earning $90,000 in the Bachelor, Recruiting Ready recouped the balance of the $110,000 spent in his behalf at the September 2015 Keeneland yearling sale.

Sagamore Farm, which owns Recruiting Ready, has been around much longer, its roll call of idols including two-time Horse of the Year Native Dancer. Established in 1925 and entrusted by his mother to the legendary Alfred G. Vanderbilt II on his 21st birthday, the Maryland farm also owns Chubby Star, the first Keeneland winner for DePaz on opening day of the spring meet in Lexington, Ky.

Sagamore is prominent again since purchased in 2007 by Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour sports apparel. To a Maryland sportsman only one day of the racing season matters — the third Saturday in May.

“Preakness Day is huge for us,” said Sagamore president Hunter Rankin. “Obviously we’re based in Baltimore, so we’ll point him for a race there.”

Recruiting Ready came to Oaklawn from Maryland after a one-length victory March 10 in an allowance/optional claimer at nearby Laurel. Breaking from the rail post in the Bachelor, the bay colt raced Conquest Wildcat and odds-on favorite Rockshaw into submission through fast early fractions of 21.60 and 44.62 seconds. Recruiting Ready kicked clear in the stretch while getting right-handed taps from jockey Horacio Karamanos, who rode the colt in his March victory.

“I know if he gets to the front, you cannot pull him much because he is full of run,” said Karamanos. “He broke out and all of a sudden he took the bit and went so comfortable all the way around to the top of the stretch. Then I let him go and he gave me a nice kick home.”

A strong 2-1 second choice, Recruiting Ready paid $6, $3.80 and $3.60, his fast-rated six furlongs in 1:09.09 over a track that has yielded only two sub-1:09 clockings this year. A May 2016 maiden winner at Pimlico, Recruiting Ready does not turn 3 by the calendar until April 30.

“This goes to Horacio (DePaz),” Rankin said. “He’s done a great job with the horse. It’s his first stakes win as a trainer, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s the best guy in the world, and he’s a really, really good trainer.”

Conquest Wildcat held second by 4 1/4 lengths, Silver Bullion getting up for third, while Rockshaw, the last-out Gazebo winner for trainer Ron Moquett, finished last of seven.