Royal Son Takes The Battaglia Memorial Gate To Wire

This is an all too familiar narrative for Todd Pletcher. He has won another three year stakes race and this time it was well off the beaten path. His three year old son of Tiznow, Royal Son, led throughout the race on his way to a smashing 5 and a quarter lengths victory in the ungraded John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park.

This race may not be a traditional Kentucky Derby prep race, it is the primer for Turfway’s signature early season event for three year olds, the Spiral Stakes. The Spiral Stakes will take place on Saturday, March 21.

Despite a Pletcher trainee going off at 9-1, the bigger surprise was The Great War finishing last in the field of 10 as the 1 to 5 favorite. The Equibase chart reported that he bled during the race, which may be why he faded so badly at the top of the stretch.

Royal Son went straight for the lead upon the break from the starting gate with The Great War close in tow. Candy Charger was third, Midnight Trace was fourth, Milwaukee Mist was fifth, and Firespike was sixth within three lengths of the lead. Further back it was Pepper Roani in seventh, Task Force Glory in eight, Ekati Told Me in ninth, and Mini Cosmo was the trailer in tenth.

There was little change in the running position of the horses throughout the first six furlongs. In addition, the fractions were not stressful with Royal Son leading the field through an opening quarter in 24.80, the half mile in 49.58, and the first six furlongs in 1:13.79 on polytrack.

On the far turn it was clear that The Great War was not right as he started to tire badly while Royal Son opened up 3 lengths in the stretch. Pepper Roani made a solid run into second while Milwaukee Mist and Midnight Trace were one paced in the stretch to finish third and fourth respectively. Pepper Roani was second by 5 1/4 lengths, but it was another 12 3/4 lengths back to third.

The remaining order of finish was Firespike, Task Force Glory, Candy Charger, Mini Cosmo, Ekati Told Me, and The Great War.

Royal Son is trained by Todd Pletcher and was ridden by Rodney Prescott. He is a three year old son of Tiznow out of the A.P. Indy mare Mama Nadine. He paid $20.60, $9.40, and $8.60 as the third betting choice. Royal Son had the blinkers put on for the first time and it is easy to see the positive effect it had on his performance.


It would be a big shock if Royal Son was not pointed towards the Spiral Stakes on March 21 for his next race since he was dominant in the John Battaglia on Saturday night.

There are three races next weekend on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, the Grade 2 San Felipe at Santa Anita, and the Grade Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs will be run with 50 points to the winner. Second, third, and fourth place finishers in each of those races will receive 20, 10, and 5 points respectively.

Check back later this week to see previews for each of those races and recaps on Saturday night.


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