06/01/2013 8:29PM

Penn National: Rydilluc rolls in Penn Mile to ascend to top of 3-year-old turf division

Barbara D. Livingston
Rydilluc, under Edgar Prado, improves to 4 for 4 racing on turf by winning the $500,000 Penn Mile for 3-year-olds.

Trainer Gary Contessa thought he might have a Kentucky Derby horse in Rydilluc. The Derby dream died, but Contessa might have the best 3-year-old turf horse in the country.

Rydilluc ran his grass record to a perfect 4 for 4 with a good win Saturday evening at Penn National in the inaugural edition of the $500,00 Penn Mile. Rating beautifully in second under Edgar Prado as longshot Yougotthatgoinforu laid down moderate splits, Rydilluc dashed to the lead in upper stretch and held at bay two talented Todd Pletcher-trained horses, Charming Kitten and Jack Milton, to win by three-quarters of a length. Noble Tune, a division leader coming into the race, tried to rally wide but flattened out and finished fifth.  

Rydilluc, who races for a partnership, paid $5.20 to win as the favorite, and notched his second stakes victory. A $150,000 2-year-old-in-training purchase last year, Rydilluc is a son of Medaglia d’Oro and the Clever Trick mare Swift and Classy. His time for one mile on firm turf was 1:33.99, less than one second off the course record and impressive considering the opening half-mile went in only 47.84 seconds, the first six furlongs in 1:11.15. Not yet on the lead after three-quarters, Rydilluc ran his final quarter-mile in about 22.70 seconds.

 Rydilluc acted up badly in the paddock, Contessa said, when he finished a distant fifth in his career debut last October, his only start on dirt. Since then, he has done little wrong, though a pacesetting fourth-place finish over Polytrack in the Grade 1 Blue Grass appeared to knock Rydilluc out of the Kentucky Derby picture. As it turned out, the small number of Derby qualifying points Rydilluc earned in the Blue Grass would have been enough to make the Derby starting gate, but the week before the race, Rydilluc bruised a hoof, costing him several days of training, according to Contessa.

With the Triple Crown nearly past now, and the turf season hitting full swing, Rydilluc and Contessa are in an enviable spot. Logical grass options this summer would include the $500,000 Virginia Derby on July 13 at Colonial Downs and the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes on Aug. 17 at Arlington.

“He just stamped himself as arguably the best 3-year-old turf horse right now, and we’re going to stay there,” Contessa said.

All-sources wagering on the Penn Mile was $1,139,478, far and away the largest single-race handle in the 40-year history of the track. The previous record was for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Handicap on Aug. 1, 2009, which handled $377,365.

After four races on the card, the all-source handle already had reached $2,281,425, surpassing the previous all-time best handle for a full race card, $2,173,921, on Dec. 26, 1998.


Mike More than 1 year ago
At penn for the race looks like BC mile TURF . Look out Wise Dan. MIKE FERRARI
Freddy Reyes Falck More than 1 year ago
They should go Virginia Derby, Secretariat S. and then go back to dirt to see if thye can make it to the BC Classic. Or if not just the BC mile
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I can't say it nearly as well as Barbara Livingston but it goes to show ya - You hang a nice race and people will come.
aaronrayk More than 1 year ago
Really hope Contessa keeps this horse healthy. Might be the next generation of Wise Dan, Point of Entry, etc.
Eric Von Zipper More than 1 year ago
Now back to reality.Another 365 days of stiff legged horses, trained by has-beens and dreamers, ridden by exercise boys for bloated taxpayer subsidized purses. See everyone next year.
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
Sounds like a lot of bloggers here cashed on Rydilluc . My OTB in Arizona didn't offer the Penn National card. No way to bet.
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
Maybe not so arguably we saw the top four 3 yr old turf horses finish in the first four spots. On turf, these are grade 1 horses. Looking forward a few years, it would be fun to see Penn National with a grade 1 race.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
the powers that be who grade the races would never allow a gr 1 at such a small track! but keep the faith! who knows.
Hadrian Marcus More than 1 year ago
If Charles Town ever gets at Grade One for the Classic (deservedly so)...then maybe. But remember, the powers that be would prefer that the G1's stay in New York, Cali Kentucky with an occasional bone to Florida. Is it good for horse racing...no...but it is what it is.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
nice to see Edgar doing what he does best, win, on nice horses that are clear of any foreign substances!! Well done Edgar!
Arlene Factor More than 1 year ago
where's the guy that posts that prado is a has been? he's riding 17% winners! he's probably broke by now
BILLW More than 1 year ago
Just a great idea running the pick 4 Races 1-4 which garnered some West Coast cash with record handle despite high takeout at Penn.Hope they grow this 3year old turf series as it will be great to see Edgar Prado try to take his 4th Virginia Derby on July 13th. Just wish Colonial ownership would move post to attract handle and get it back on HRTV and TVG.....Without state support or alternate gaming the purse has dropped from 1 Million when race was on CBS Nationally....in half with no TV
Mike B More than 1 year ago
If I remember VA Derby was on HRTV last year
vapaul67 More than 1 year ago
Well if they're going to the Virginia Derby no better rider to have than Prado, who has already won 3-4 of them.