Hit the Road's dramatic victory in Saturday's $400,000 Frank Kilroe Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park made the 4-year-old colt the 30th lifetime Grade 1 winner for More Than Ready.
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The win was also the second straight graded stakes score for Hit the Road, who took the Thunder Road S. (G3) exactly one month ago. The bay has now won four starts in a row, including the Oceanside S. at Del Mar, and has won six of nine overall with earnings of $494,751.
Hit the Road's victory was far from certain as the field entered the homestretch. Ridden patiently by Florent Geroux while tucked along the fence in fourth up to that point, Geroux's mount was full of run, but with nowhere to go. When a narrow opening appeared, Hit the Road forged to the lead and outran Smooth Like Strait to win by a neck in 1:34.48 on the firm turf.
“It was all heart,” said Geroux of the Dan Blacker trainee's effort. “Sometimes when you have to go through a tight spot the horse doesn’t necessarily cooperate, but he did great and did everything I asked him to. I couldn’t be any prouder of the horse and Dan and his team for his first Grade I. They worked very hard to get to this point and I’m very happy for them.”
“I was pretty anxious, but I thought if he can get through he’s got a good chance,” said Blacker in the winner's circle. “Luckily, Flo found a gap and he just proved he’s the best today.”
Hit the Road is owned by D K Racing, LLC, Radley Equine, Inc., Taste of Victory Stables, Rick Gold, Tony Maslowski and Dave Odmark.
Hit the Road was bred in Kentucky by Fred Hertrich III.