11/25/2015 4:26PM

Chocolate Ride returns from nearly seven-month layoff

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In November 2014, Chocolate Ride was dropped in for a $40,000 tag at Churchill Downs, finished third for trainer Mark Casse, and returned after the race to the barn of trainer Brad Cox, who had claimed Chocolate Ride for a partnership. The then-4-year-old had shown some promise and looked like a horse that could win an allowance race or two if things went right. As it happened, Chocolate Ride won only one allowance race after the claim, but that was because he improved so sharply that his new connections raised him up to graded stakes competition last winter at Fair Grounds. And the more they asked, the more Chocolate Ride gave. In February, he won the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap, and in March, he won the Grade 2, $291,000 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap.

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