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Keeneland: I'll Call latest winner from productive family for Strawbridge, Motion
By Nicole Russo
I'll Call kept it all in the family for his connections on Friday, winning at first asking in a one-mile turf maiden special weight event on Keeneland’s opening day.
The 3-year-old Smart Strike colt is a full brother to multiple graded stakes winner Smart Bid and a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Deal Making, both of whom were also trained by Graham Motion. Owner and breeder George Strawbridge, Jr., bred the family's first three dams.
Under Edgar Prado, I'll Call tracked the pace in fourth early and had moved up to third with a quarter mile remaining. The dark bay or brown colt angled out for room leaving the far turn and caught the leaders late to pull away and win by 2 1/2 lengths. He finished the mile on firm turf in 1:37.51.
"I was impressed with how comfortably he did it," Motion said. "I thought he'd be a little more green, and actually, he was very professional and did it very nicely."
Motion took a patient approach with I'll Call, who like Deal Making was unraced as a juvenile.
"He's had little issues, little baby issues, we've had to work through," Motion said. "It's taken awhile, but I think it's worth the wait."
I'll Call is the seventh winner from as many starters out of the Grade 3-winning Danzig mare Recording. The mare's richest runner to date is Smart Bid, who bankrolled over $1 million while winning the Grade 2 Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap in 2011 and the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap last year. The Smart Strike horse was also Grade 1-placed, defeated three-quarters of a length by Get Stormy in the 2011 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes. The 7-year-old is standing his first season at Highcliff Stallions at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds this year.
Deal Making won stakes races at Delaware Park and Penn National and was Grade 2-placed while earning $237,874.
"He's a lot more like Deal Making," Motion said of I'll Call. "He's much more that type of horse. Smart Bid was much stouter, almost more sprinting-looking."
Recording is also the dam of Representing, a stakes winner and Group 1-placed in France; stakes-placed Vanishing; and Screening, dam of graded stakes winners Anthony's Cross and Fugitive Angel.
"It's a hell of a mare. Everything out of the mare is a runner," Motion said.
Recording is a half-sister to stakes winner Smart Growth and stakes producer Just a Bird. Their dam, the Caveat mare Ratings, was a multiple graded stakes winner and Grade 1-placed runner in New York for Strawbridge.
Ratings is out of the winning T.V. Commercial mare T.V. Ad, whose offspring included several productive daughters and granddaughters.
Obviously doesn't need Team Valor when you had class operations behind you for years, remember when Graham started after Bernie Bond's passing.
Congratulations to Graham Motion and George Strawbridge. Both are class acts!