Paolucci Hoping For Initial Ohio Derby Success At Track He Calls ‘Our House’

Ron Paolucci has been JACK Thistledown Racino’s leading owner every year since 2013 and has won numerous Ohio stakes with horses such as Mo Dont No and Proper Discretion. With partners he has campaigned such graded stakes winners as Ria Antonia and Imperative. One race he has yet to win, however, is the Grade 3 Ohio Derby, the signature race at the track the Akron, Ohio, native calls “our house.” He will send two geldings out in Saturday’s 85th edition of the Ohio Derby, Going for Gold and Dare Day.

Going for Gold began his career with two narrow losses in sprints at Laurel Park after setting the pace in both. He trains like a horse who wants to go long, Paolucci said, but in his next start he was roundly defeated in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay. More telling, he followed that loss over 1 1/16 miles with another defeat in a maiden special weight in March going seven furlongs. After those two efforts, Going for Gold was sent to New York for laryngeal tie-forward surgery, the remedy for horses whose breathing under exertion is compromised by a displaced larynx. The Ohio Derby will be his first start since the surgery.

“We did the surgery, gave him time off and he’s training sensational,” said Paolucci. “The displacement was far more an issue during racing than it was during training. It’s his first race back, but whatever he does in this race, it will be worth 10 lengths in his next start.”

Anthony Quartarolo has trained Going for Gold for his comeback. The horse will arrive from Churchill Downs Thursday evening.

Paolucci’s second entry in the Ohio Derby is the undefeated Dare Day, whose two running lines feature nothing but ones. First out of the gate in both starts, he won his debut, a maiden special weight at Belterra Park, by 8 1/2 lengths, and his second, an allowance at JACK Thistledown May 21, by 7 1/2.

“He’s a rocket ship,” said Paolucci. “He’s exceptionally fast from the gate, faster than any horse I’ve ever owned. Some horses are fast but they don’t get away fast. Any time you get to the front first, that’s an advantage. Being on the outside [post] is a tremendous help.”

Dare Day has never raced past six furlongs, and the stretch-out to the 1 1/8-mile Ohio Derby looms as the question to be answered.

“It’s a huge ask,” said Paolucci. “He doesn’t need to rate, but I talked to [jockey] Luis Rivera and he said, ‘I think he can do whatever I ask him.’”

In the care of Thistledown’s perennial leading trainer, Jeff Radosevich, Dare Day trains at JACK Thistledown. Paolucci counts both facts additional advantages for Saturday.

“Jeff is a no-nonsense trainer. He trains for speed. This is not an easy track to ship in and run well. The [homefield advantage] is worth two lengths for horses who are familiar with it.

“The fact that it’s a short field, it’s a lot of money and it’s a race I want to win—well, you can’t win it from the sidelines. Dare Day is an exceptionally talented horse.”

The Ohio Derby is the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race card, which begins at 1:10 p.m. Post time for the Ohio Derby is 5:10 p.m.

The post Paolucci Hoping For Initial Ohio Derby Success At Track He Calls ‘Our House’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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