02/02/2013 7:19PM

Gulfstream Park: Honorable Dillon holds off Forty Tales in Hutcheson

Courtney Heeney
Honorable Dillon and Joe Rocco Jr. win the Grade 2 Hutcheson on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Honorable Dillon may be a little on the green side but was still talented enough to outlast the fast-closing Forty Tales to register a half-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

With Joe Rocco Jr. aboard, Honorable Dillon stalked the leaders, rallied three wide into the stretch, took command from Undrafted between calls near midstretch, then withstood Forty Tales’s closing surge despite finishing on his left lead. Forty Tales broke slowly, appeared to be struggling while racing along the inside for the opening half-mile of the seven-furlong Hutcheson, was finally able to swing outside entering the stretch, then finished best of all to nail Undrafted by a nose to be second.

Merit Man, who won the Grade 3 Spectacular Bid on New Year’s Day, finished a tiring fourth after tracking the early pace.

Honorable Dillon is a 3-year-old son of Tapit owned by Joe Bucci and trained by Eddie Kenneally. He completed the distance in 1:22.53 and paid $7.20.

“It set up good,” said Kenneally. “I thought there was some speed in the race, which there was. He relaxed beautifully, stalked from the outside, and really dug in. He’s still a little green. He was on the wrong lead through the stretch, but he gutted it out. He’s determined. He’s a nice horse who is on the improve.”

Kenneally voiced his displeasure at the fact the Hutcheson did not earn Honorable Dillon any qualifying points for this year’s Kentucky Derby.

“It’s a shame these Grade 2 stakes aren’t getting any points for the Kentucky Derby. I think it’s wrong,” said Kenneally. “We may try to stretch him out. He’s bred to go farther than seven-eighths. Can he do it? We’ll find out when we try.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher acknowledged having post 1 was likely the undoing for Forty Tales, who suffered his first setback in three starts.

“It was a difficult post going seven-eighths for a horse to make one run, but in spite of all that, he ran a great race," Pletcher said. "He just ran out of real estate. I wish we could have gotten a better post position, but we’re really happy with his effort.”

mrm More than 1 year ago
More impressed by Forty Tails.
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
have followed dillion since saratoga win...this will be a horse to be watch closely as he seems to have a ton of upside with maturity
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
Merit Man got a terrible ride from Paco Lopez. He would have done better outside in the clear instead of on the rail...
Kevin Rice More than 1 year ago
It wasn't the ride it was the 6 horse longshot who screwed him. He gunned it to the front and when he ran out of horse merit man was forced to scramble a way around. Lopez had to check him going into the turn before he ram that horse over
Keith More than 1 year ago
I do believe stretching this colt out would have to be a case of the Derby bug bitting the owner pretty deeply. His immediate target is most likely the Swale Stakes, again at the 7f distance, according to Keneally. And that trainer also has Majesic Warrior colt Majestic Hussar in his barn, and that one is already targetting the Fountain of Youth Stakes reportedly. Keith L.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Majestic Hussar is also very nice. He's going to FOY. I am hoping HD heads towards Spiral at Turfway.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Having Blushing Groom on his dam side and being by TAPIT who is really stepping up with some class stakes winners he should like more ground. Eddie handling him perfectly. Called this colt back in August when he beat Delhomme at Saratoga. NICE PROSPECT!!
Steve Morehouse More than 1 year ago
I bet this colt his first start when a troubled third and been on him ever since
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
i was there also and cashed on him ! horse to keep a tab on .....
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
He barely hung on in a weak field.