01/07/2011 12:06PM

2010 Eclipse Awards: Rightly So

Justin N. Lane

Consistency is a valuable commodity in race horses, and Rightly So has been consistent from the beginning of her career, through all of her races in 2010.

She finished a close second, beaten by a half-length when she debuted against New York-breds as a 4-year-old in January of 2009. That was her only defeat that year. Racing exclusively against New York-breds, she crushed maiden specials by 10 lengths in her next race, then was the easy 5 3/4 length winner of an allowance race.

Rightly So took more than six months off, then edged $25,000 optional claimers in her return. With that prep race under her belt she tackled stakes company in the $125,000 Iroquois at Belmont and won by 2 1/4 lengths. She stretched out from seven furlongs to a mile at Aqueduct and won the $168,000 Luv Is Eternal.

Rightly So was off from Nov. 19, 2009 to Feb. 28 of last year, and made her 2010 debut in the $65,000 Broadway at Aqueduct. She had traffic trouble in that race and finished a close third on a muddy track. She ran a better race second time back when she took her field most of the way, and was unlucky to lose the $60,000 Indistinctly by a nose.

Despite her strong form as a 4-year-old, and her continued consistency two races into her 5-year-old campaign, Rightly So had not yet raced against open company in a graded stakes race. She was freshened for two months after the Indistinctly, then was tested for class when she ran at Belmont in the Grade 2 Vagrancy. Most bettors did not like her chances. Although she had been favored in seven of her first eight races, and was bet down below even-money in five of them, Rightly So was overlooked as a 12-1 outsider in the Vagrancy.

Rightly So responded the way she always had in the past. She ran another strong race. In fact, she ran the best race of her career to that point. She carved out the fastest pace she had ever run, then gave way grudgingly to finish second, a half-length behind the winner.

She continued to blossom. Rightly So led from the start and held on gamely to prevail by a head in the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses. She improved on what had been her career-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure in the Vagrancy while earning a 95 Beyer.

Rightly So was rested again with nearly eight weeks between her races. She stepped up in class to try Grade 1 opponents in the Ballerina on Aug. 28. She grabbed a clear lead through the opening quarter-mile. That wasn’t unusual, as she had done the same thing in her two previous graded stakes races then lost ground from midstretch to the finish. That didn’t happen in the Ballerina, because Rightly So improved for the third straight time. She drew away through the stretch to win by four lengths, and earned a new career-best 100 Beyer.

Based on her continued consistency and her steady improvement during the last three races of her campaign, her owner, Zayat Stables LLC, and trainer, Tony Dutrow, have good reason to be proud of the performance of Rightly So in 2010.

PAST PERFORMANCES: Rightly So's 2010 season PPs (PDF)

KEY RACE REPLAY: Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga >>