Old Pro United Captures Eddie Read Once More in a Thrilling Finish
United © Benoit Photo
LNJ Foxwoods’ United, the defending champion, powered through the lane under Flavien Prat to get up by a neck at the finish of a sparkling renewal of the Grade II, $251,000 Eddie Read Stakes Saturday afternoon at Del Mar.
The 6-year-old gelding by Giant’s Causeway had won this same race by a half length last year and pulled it off once more with a stellar performance under his regular rider and out of the barn of his longtime trainer -- Hall of Famer Richard Mandella.
The big chestnut ran the nine furlongs on turf in 1:49.49 and bested race favorite Smooth Like Straight after a rugged testing in the lane. The second-place finisher, who races for Cannon Thoroughbreds, had a length on third-place finisher, Agave Racing Stable or Sam-Son Farm’s Count Again.
United paid $8.60, $3.40 and $2.80 across the board, while Smooth Like Strait, who went off at even money, returned $2.60 and $2.20. Count Again paid $2.80 to show.
United picked up a check for $150,000 for his work, which pushed his career earnings to $1,675,549. It was his ninth victory in his 20th lifetime start.
This was Prat’s 14th ride aboard United, the last 13 in a row. He’s won seven times with him and also has four seconds.
FLAVIEN PRAT (United, winner) – “I could tell the fractions were slow; I could feel it. But my horse was travelling well and he was comfortable. I knew his last race wasn’t his real race and I felt he’d run better today. The only question was being able to get out. He did and ran well through the lane. He’s back.”
RICHARD MANDELLA (United, winner) – “He ran well and I’m very proud of him. He was coming off a terrible race, I’ve never had him run that bad. We worried and watched and did every test you can do on him and we found a bruise under his shoe two weeks old. It didn’t seem like that big a deal, but it must have been. We’ll probably look at the Del Mar Handicap next.”
FRACTIONS: :25.19 :49.43 1:4.01 1:38.07 1:49.49
The stakes win was the third of the meet for rider Prat and his third in the Eddie Read (including last year’s edition with United). He now has 63 stakes wins at Del Mar, 12th best among all riders.
The stakes win was the second of the meet for trainer Mandella and his third win in the Read (including last year’s edition with United). He now has 69 stakes wins at Del Mar, sixth most of all trainers.
The winning owners are LNJ Foxwoods, the nom du course of Larry Roth of Great Neck on Long Island in New York.