Red Ghost Wins Head Bob Battle Over Euphoric In Miss Preakness Stakes

Horse racing loves a comeback story, and Red Ghost was a tweet-length version of just that on Friday afternoon in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness Stakes, sneaking a nose ahead at the wire after appearing to be defeated.

The 3-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper was hurried out of the gate by jockey John Velazquez, and was challenged on the inside by Abrogate, who tumbled rider Ricardo Santana Jr. out of the back of the starting gate prior to the start of the race.

As Abrogate faded, Euphoric moved up to challenge Red Ghost on her outside, after taking a sharp left turn out of the gate. Those two were practically even after the opening quarter, clocked in :22.88 seconds, and they remained head-to-head as they entered the turn.

Euphoric got a head in front throughout the turn, and carried that small advantage through a half-mile in :45.80 seconds under jockey Javier Castellano. Meanwhile, Joyful Cadence began to approach the lead duo on the far outside, and she entered contention with about a furlong to go.

This set up a hardscrabble three-way battle in the deep stretch, but it was one that it appeared Red Ghost was not going to win. Euphoric fought doggedly against Joyful Cadence on her outside, and it appeared that Euphoric would have enough to stave off that rival. But, Velazquez continued to grind from the rail, and got into head-bob contention with the leader.

The lead changed with each stride, but Red Ghost managed to have her neck out at the right time when the finish line went by. She finished a nose ahead of Euphoric, who was a neck in front of Joyful Cadence. Then, it was three lengths back to Juror Number Four in fourth.

Red Ghost stopped the clock in 1:10.53 in the six-furlong race over a fast main track. She paid $6.20 to win as the 2.10-to-one post time favorite.

Friday’s Miss Preakness was a successful step-up for Red Ghost, who made her graded stakes debut after winning a six-furlong Keeneland allowance by two lengths on April 16. Her earnings now total $182,200.

It was her third career victory, after also winning on debut in a off-the-turf maiden race at Saratoga Race Course. Her only career defeat came in her lone try on turf in the Untapable Stakes last September at Churchill Downs.

Red Ghost races as a homebred for Douglas Scharbauer, and she is trained by Wesley Ward. She is out of the Elusive Quality mare Better Than Most.

After the field crossed the line, there was a fairly lengthy jockey’s objection lodged by Xavier Perez abiard Street Lute against Castellano and Euphoric, after the Euphoric ducked in at the break and appeared to cut off multiple competitors. However, the stewards elected to leave the result unchanged.

To view the race chart, click here.

$150,000 Miss Preakness (G3) Quotes

David Flores, Assistant to Winning Trainer Wesley Ward (Red Ghost): “John [Velazquez] said she was backing up a little bit when the horses went by her. When he got after her she looked like she was not done. He felt like he had horse. She is very competitive and she was able to make a comeback.”

Winning Jockey John Velazquez (Red Ghost): “She got passed, almost a length. She was looking to the inside and the other horses passed her. She didn’t even care. She kept looking to the inside and leaning out and I got after her. I got after her at the three-sixteenths pole and she came back.”

Jockey Javier Castellano (Euphoric; 2nd): “I had a good trip. I thought I was going to win. To be honest with you, I thought I won the race. You never know. Unfortunately, I lost the bob. I saw [winner Red Ghost] coming back on the inside, but there is nothing that you can do. [John Velazquez]was already there. I just got beat. She ran really well, I am disappointed we lost but very satisfied with the way she did it. She ran a great race.”

Trainer John Ortiz (Joyful Cadence; 3rd): “Tough beat, but I couldn’t be any more proud of what she did today. She showed guts. Her last stakes race (second in the Purple Martin at Oaklawn) we saw that she had a little fight. Today, I thought we were the winner. She’s still learning. When she got in front, she probably waited up a little bit and got just a little tired. But she ran a heck of a race for sure.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Joyful Cadence; 3rd): “She got the perfect trip, can’t complain, no excuses. She just got beat. Once she got the lead, she thought it was over. She was looking around a little bit but no excuses.”

The post Red Ghost Wins Head Bob Battle Over Euphoric In Miss Preakness Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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