11/14/2012 4:38PM

Calder: Close It Out’s victory gives his stable a big boost

Coady Photography
Close It Out ended a string of frustrating second- and third-place finishes.

MIAMI – Close It Out, the only horse currently campaigned at Calder by longtime Thoroughbred owner and breeder Sam Rogers Jr., added another chapter to the family legacy when he rallied from last to upset last Saturday’s Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap.

A 4-year-old homebred by Closing Argument, Close It Out ended a string of frustrating second- and third-place finishes dating back to the summer when he finished full of run down the center of the course to catch Bahamian Squall in the closing strides of the six-furlong Jack Dudley. His trainer, Steve Towne, called the victory one of the most gratifying wins of his career.

“Mr. Rogers just turned 90 earlier this year, and he’s the greatest guy in the world to train for, a real class act to deal with,” said Towne. “They tell me he’s been paying trainers since he was 18 years old, and it’s always really special when you can win a stakes for a man like him.”

The Rogers family story goes all the way back to the 1930s with Samuel Sr. who came into the business as a partner with William duPont before breeding and racing horses out of the family’s 60-acre farm in Virginia after World War II. Samuel Jr., who still resides in Virginia according to Towne, currently runs a similar operation, the Acorn Farm, in Ocala, Fla. The property is managed by his daughter Lynn Rogers Rainbow and her husband Bill and is where Close It Out was foaled.

Towne said a good pace setup was all Close It Out needed to get back into the winner’s circle.

“I ran him eight days before the stakes, and he got banged around pretty badly in that race,” said Towne. “I decided to enter him in the Jack Dudley and see what it looked like, and after seeing the entries felt there was enough speed to set up his late run. So I decided to bring him right back and take a chance. I was also lucky to be able to get Jose Lezcano, who rode him perfectly.”

Towne said the Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 19 is his next major goal for Close It Out.