Jose Corrales Hoping Black-Eyed Susan Day Will Be Something Awesome

In case you’ve forgotten about Bodhisattva … oh, wait. Maybe you have.

Three years ago, the horse with the hard-to-pronounce name was among seven opponents defeated by eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 140th Preakness Stakes (G1). Back then, Maryland-based trainer Jose Corrales called it a “dream” to have been part of the Preakness, his first Grade 1 event, particularly with a contender presented to him as a gift by breeder Andy Stronach, the son of The Stronach Group founder Frank Stronach.

“I really didn’t know until it was over how big an experience a race like the Preakness is,” said Corrales, 58, whose charge was eased through stretch and finished eighth. “To run against a horse that wins the Triple Crown is quite an experience. I’m so grateful. And to do it with a horse that Andy bred and gave to me as a present … at a track owned by the Stronach family made it even more exciting. We’ll be in the record books forever.”

It seems as if Bodhisattva may run forever, too. The 6-year-old son of Student Council, out of the Talk Is Money mare Dr. Cheryl P, was fourth in the John B. Campbell Stakes earlier this year at Corrales’ home track of Laurel Park.

Less than two weeks ago he finished second in a seven-furlong race in Panama, which  Corrales called a solid prep for his next start, a stakes race in Panama on June 3 that serves as a qualifier for the Clasico Internacional del Caribe at Gulfstream Park in December.

“That’s the plan,” he said.

The trainer is also hoping his plans for this weekend turn out to be memorable. On Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan Day program he’ll send out Stronach Stables’ homebred Something Awesome as one of the main contenders in the $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3). Something Awesome has won three straight races, all in stakes, including the General George (G3) and $1.2 million Charles Town Classic (G2) – Corrales’ first career graded-stakes wins.

Also on Friday, Corrales has a first-time starter for Stronach named Pearl Power in a $50,000 maiden special weight for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/16 miles on the turf; and D’wildcat Sunshine, a 3-year-old filly he co-owns with Didier Plasiencia in a $50,000 six-furlong maiden special weight sprint for 3-year-old fillies to kick off the card.

“She’s ready, training well and we’ll see how she does,” said Corrales of Pearl Power. “It’s hard to get a handle on how they perform once the gate opens in their first race. [Something Awesome] is the best horse I’ve trained. Whatever he does from now on will be special to me.”

Corrales is having himself quite a career. He knew he wanted to become a jockey at the age of 7, and rode more than 1,000 winners in the United States after learning his trade in Panama. He worked as an assistant for Wesley Ward – they became pals as jockeys in the mid-1980s riding in the state of Washington. When Ward relocated to California, Corrales went to train in Macau.

Soon Corrales returned to the United States, and by 2011 he finally got his big break. Owner/trainer Burton Sipp introduced him to Andy Stronach, and the two began a solid working relationship.

“The first time I met Andy, it was midnight at Beulah Park,” said Corrales. “He was in a truck with a driver, and they were delivering a horse to me. A filly. Can’t recall her name. But we won with her. And then he started sending me horses.”

One of them was Bodhisattva, the California-bred gift horse who has earned more than $450,000 in purses and whose name means “enlightened being” in Mahayana Buddhism.

“Andy has helped me the most, no doubt,” said Corrales. “He has been the biggest influence in my career.”

By 2015, Bodhisattva had become a Preakness prospect, having won the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico a month earlier. He was never able to get into what has become his best running style – starting at or near the back of the pack and barreling through the stretch for the finish – but Frank Stronach took notice of his trainer.

“When Andy introduced me to his father, Mr. Stronach told me, ‘You’re a good horseman. I’m going to make you famous,’” said Corrales. “I never expected it to be as fast, but I guess he was right. I was honored to hear that from someone so powerful in the sport. The family has helped me so much. They have been great for horse racing.”

(If you need help pronouncing Bodhisattva, listen to this 1973 song by Steely Dan.)

The post Jose Corrales Hoping Black-Eyed Susan Day Will Be Something Awesome appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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