Highlight of this past weekend’s virtual horse racing action from Equination.net was the Equination.net Derby. This ten furlong race is restricted to three year olds and is the first leg of Equination’s Triple Crown. Not only is this the most prestigious race in the calender but it also boasts a bumper purse of $1,250,000 and unsurprisingly attracted a field of the highest caliber.
A key piece of form for this race appeared to be the Silver Platter Stakes (G3) run two weeks earlier. The first two home there, Island Tale For Fashions and Rev em Up would do battle again here. Although Island Tale For Fashions came out on top that day on the sloppy dirt, Rev em Up looked to hold every chance of reversing the placings here. Staughton vale’s chestnut colt had a length to find with his conqueror but appears still to be progressing and would encounter very different ground this time. Add to that a sparkling recent workout where he produced a rating of 115.8 and his claims were very strong indeed.
One of particular interest in the line-up was March Farm’s undefeated colt, Apocalypse At War. Any horse that can put together a string of nine career wins has to be respected at any level but the chestnut’s achieved ratings to date suggested he still had something to find here.
The top HRR of all on display her belonged to NexStar Racing’s gray colt, Extreme Dude. He posted an impressive 127.5 two starts ago when running away with a Listed Stakes, coming home just shy of ten lengths clear but was a shade below that when finishing second to the re-opposing Challenger Deep last time out.
With the ground riding fast here, some of the closers were taken off their feet early by those at the head of affairs and some were never able to land a serious blow. It was the trailblazers who were able to steal a march and never came back to their field and it was two improvers in the field who would ultimately fight out the finish. Ring Swiftly had posted a career best of 124.1 last time out when finishing second in a Listed Stakes and had since shone in his homework, achieving a rating of 112.68. A similar profile could also be attributed to the eventual winner, Ranni Park Thoroughbreds’ RP Franco Phoenix MD. The Phoenix Peace bay had notched a career best 126.25 last time, also when winning a Listed Stakes which was a dramatic improvement on his previous outing in the mud. He too had since set the gallops alight with a workout rated at 114.75. This pair fought grimly throughout the final quarter with RP Franco Phoenix MD eventually prevailing by a half length. Staughton vale’s Rev em Up stayed on to take third.
The first and second home here are set to do battle once more next weekend when they meet again in the HorseRacingBuzz.net Mile. With recent graded stakes winners, Backtalk and the massively talented ISSEKA in the line-up amongst a whole host of other virtual equine stars, we should have a race to savor.
Image: Snapper’s Pics at Flickr.