Solitary Ranger set all the pace to win the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial S. at Turfway Park Saturday by an impressive 4 3/4-lengths. This was the second stakes win for the 3-year-old U S Ranger colt, who took the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity last September.
After zipping through the first two quarters in a solid :23.47 and :47.08, Solitary Ranger began to widen the tight margin going around the final turn. When he hit the stretch, he rocketed away from the field, opening up by some eight lengths before being taken in hand in the final stages by Florent Geroux.
Solitary Ranger finished the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:47.21 (VIDEO).
“We kind of figured that’s the way the race was going to set up,” said Catalano, the winning trainer. “He’s got speed, we had an inside post, and we were going to take advantage of that. And we also had (second-place finisher) Poker Player in there, so he was going to keep the pace honest up front, and in the meantime we were going to try to win with both horses. I think Poker Player got a little bit too far out of it.”
“He likes to be on the front end, so he broke sharp, I took advantage of my good post, number two, and he ran good,” said Geroux. “He got a little excited the last sixteenth, but he has a big heart and tries very hard. He has a huge heart, so he gives everything he’s got.”
Catalano said that he would think about bringing Solitary Ranger back for the March 22 Spiral S. (G3).
Bred in Kentucky by Richard Forbush and U S Ranger Syndicate, Solitary Ranger is out of Galileo’s Star, whose sire was 1992 Spiral and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Lil E Tee. From six starts his record stands now at three wins and two seconds for earnings of $194,263. He has been owned since this third start and first win, the Futurity, by Susan Moulton.