Ron the Greek is First Breeders' Cup Classic Qualifier following Dramatic win in Stephen Foster Handicap
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June, 16 2012) – Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable and Jack T. Hammer’s 5-year-old Ron the Greek won tonight’s Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs by a head over favored Wise Dan and became the first horse to earn an automatic starting position into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita Park through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is a global series of 73 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held on November 2-3 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network. The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic will be shown live and in primetime on NBC.
Trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who won last year’s Classic at Churchill Downs with Drosselmeyer, and with Cigar in the 1995 Classic at Belmont Park, Ron the Greek, off at 9.4-1, earned a free entry into the Classic at Santa Anita and a $10,000 travel allowance for his connections to California as a part of the Challenge series enhancements. A Florida bred son of Full Mandate, Ron the Greek, ridden by Jose Lezcano, won his second race in four starts this year, having capturing the Santa Anita Handicap in March. He was recently second in the Oaklawn Handicap on April 14.
"We felt pretty good after he won the race out there, but it's good to see him come back and run two good races since the Santa Anita Handicap," said Mott. "He seems like he's an improving horse and you'd have to say he's one of the top handicap horses in the country. It was a very good field tonight and I feel proud of our horse that he was able to beat such a good field."
Ron the Greek covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.51 over a fast track. View the official race chart.
Mott is planning a fall campaign that will get Ron the Greek to the Classic. "We started on him pretty early, so we'll probably give him a break now and point for the Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) and then the Breeders' Cup Classic (GI). He might have a race before the Gold Cup, but I'm not sure where it would be."
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The complete Breeders’ Cup Challenge schedule can be viewed here: https://members.breederscup.com/challenge/schedule.aspx