08/06/2017 3:38PM

Rally Cry shows he can go long with Alydar triumph

Barbara D. Livingston
Rally Cry notched his first stakes win with the Alydar on Sunday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The way Rally Cry trained in the morning, trainer Todd Pletcher always had him pegged as a horse who would be better running long.

It wasn’t until Sunday’s $100,000 Alydar Stakes at Saratoga that he would give Rally Cry the opportunity to prove him right.

Rally Cry did just that, taking over from pace-setting Conquest Windycity in upper stretch and bounding clear to an 8 3/4-length victory. Red Rifle, also trained by Pletcher, rallied from last to be second by a neck over Conquest Windycity. Mo Tom was fourth, followed by Mohaymen, who was eased.

It was the fourth win from 10 starts for Rally Cry, a 4-year-old son of Uncle Mo owned by Paul Pompa Jr., and was his first stakes victory.

Under John Velazquez, Rally Cry broke running, but settled just off the flank of Conquest Windycity, who under Luis Saez set fractions of 23.66 seconds for the quarter, 47.40 for the half-mile and 1:11.31 for six furlongs.

Coming to the top of the stretch, Velazquez asked Rally Cry to go, and he took over by the three-sixteenths pole. With Velazquez simply pushing on Rally Cry down the lane, the colt drew away impressively.

Rally Cry covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.58 and returned $3.50 as the 3-5 favorite.

“I tried to get him to settle the best I could on the backstretch and he settled pretty good,” Velazquez said. “At the quarter pole I let him do whatever he wanted to, picked him up, gave him a couple of kisses and he ran away from the other horses.”

Rally Cry’s only other try around two turns came in the Grade 3 Gotham in March 2016, when he finished sixth of seven after a troubled start. After an allowance win and a second-place finish in the Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont that June, Rally Cry was sidelined the remainder of his 3-year-old season due to sore shins.

His three starts this year were all around one turn, including an allowance win at Belmont in April and a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, where he finished sixth.

“This is the first opportunity we were able to get him in a situation like this, two turns at a mile and an eighth,” Pletcher said. “The way he trained he always gave us confidence that that’s what he would really be best at. We’re happy to get this opportunity to get him in that situation and I think he showed what he’s capable of.”

Pletcher said Rally Cry most likely earned a shot to take on impressive Whitney Stakes winner Gun Runner in the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward here Sept. 2.
“We took a shot at the Met, I don’t know why we wouldn’t take a shot at the Woodward,” Pletcher said.