02/28/2015 9:56PM

Royal Son scores 9-1 upset in John Battaglia Memorial

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The Todd Pletcher-trained Royal Son, with Rodney Prescott aboard, wins the John Battaglia Memorial for 3-year-olds.

Even with Gulfstream Park canceling racing after the fifth race Saturday due to  heavy thunderstorms, and as a consequence postponing the return of the Todd Pletcher-trained Daredevil in the Swale, Pletcher ended up winning a stakes for 3-year-olds anyway.

The Pletcher-trained Royal Son, the 9-1 third choice in the race, led throughout to take the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park in a 5 1/4-length romp, while 1-5 favorite The Great War bombed, falling apart after chasing the pace for six furlongs and running last, with Equibase chart callers commenting he bled.

Re-equipped with blinkers after seemingly intimidating when seventh in the Sam. F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 31, Royal Son turned in a professional performance in the Battaglia. He sped to the lead under Rodney Prescott, setting modest fractions of 24.80 and 49.80 seconds, and after turning back a brief challenge from the The Great War entering the second turn of the 1 1/16-mile race, always held a commanding lead thereafter.

The Great War, routing for just the second time in his 10th start, stopping abruptly after appearing full of run early.  He raced with Lasix, but still bled, per the Equibase chart.

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

Pepper Roani and Milwaukee Mist rallied to be a distant second and third in a strung-out field, never threatening the winner.

Royal Son, a son of Tiznow owned and bred by WinStar Farm, ran the distance on Polytrack in 1:46.84. He paid $20.60.

He seems a logical candidate for the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway on March 21 – the signature race at the track, and a major Kentucky Derby prep. Other prominent 3-year-olds pointing for the Spiral include Imperia and Metaboss.

Tim More than 1 year ago
There is good reason why no Derby Qualifying points were up for grabs in that race; the Spiral shouldn't be worth 50 either, 25 would be more in line...
JustinJ More than 1 year ago
so you are saying the Spiral never had a Derby winner? you are wrong
Phil D More than 1 year ago
I just saw the replay, man I thought something catastrophic happened to The Great War, he just stopped on the final turn. Equibase is saying he bled even though he was on Lasix, I don’t think that it’s a good sign for sure. Just wishing Ward and the owners the best case scenario for The Great War, real shame that this happened.
Judy Fraizer More than 1 year ago
Bridge jumpers lined up.....this horse didn't belong as an overpriced favorite in any way. Love Wesley Ward, but think this track just isn't a great place to put your Derby hopeful. Nothing against Turfway either. Hope the horse is okay.
R Matteson More than 1 year ago
It was not a graded race.
R Matteson More than 1 year ago
It was not a graded race.
peter jaworski More than 1 year ago
I would expect Pepper Roani to also show up.
Steve Gibson More than 1 year ago
What an ugly race, how does this thing even get called a graded race?????
tommy More than 1 year ago
Weak field, what can I say