WinStar Farm and Siena Farm’s Emmanuel, a 3-year-old colt by More Than Ready, made a sparkling turf debut on Saturday, June 4, at Belmont Park, leading from start to finish to take down top prize in the $200,000 Pennine Ridge S. (G2) at 1 1/8 miles.
Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. for trainer Todd Pletcher, Emmanuel led a compact field of six through moderate early fractions of :25.19 and :51.72 over the firm turf. He maintained a clear advantage straightening for home and powered to the wire to score by a length in the end.
“He was the speed of the race,” said Irad Ortiz. “He broke well and put me in a good position. I just kept it together and stayed out of his way. He was ready. He’s by More Than Ready, so he had a great pedigree to run on turf. I expected that he would like it and he did.”
Pletcher was also pleased with his charge’s impressive performance over a new surface.
“He’s bred for the turf, but he’s always trained really well on the dirt,” Pletcher said. “He’s had some good dirt races, but we kind of wanted to experiment with this. My biggest concern was two weeks ago we worked him, and it had a little give to it like it does today, and I didn’t think he was as good as he was the following work when it was firm. It looked like we had a pace advantage and took advantage of that, and he ran well.
“We’ll see how he comes out,” Pletcher continued. “We haven’t ruled out going back to the dirt at some point. All our options are open.”
Produced from the Hard Spun mare Hard Cloth, Emmanuel was bred in Kentucky by Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust and was acquired by Maverick Racing for $350,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Sale. The $110,000 winner’s share of the Pennine Ridge purse increased his lifetime earnings to $272,100 and improved his record to 5-3-0-1. Prior to the Pennine Ridge S., Emmanuel finished third in the Bluegrass S. (G1) at Keeneland.