The Godfarther Part II: Don Vito Corleone Stretches Out For His Second Start

Don Vito Corleone is scheduled to make his second career start in a May 2 entry-level allowance race around two turns at Oaklawn Park, the gelding’s trainer, Rick Hiles, said Friday.

Don Vito Corleone, a 3-year-old son of champion Midshipman, was a 1 ¼-length winner of his April 4 career debut at 1 1/16 miles under Martin Garcia. Bred by the University of Kentucky, the gelding shares the same name as the fictional character played by screen legend Marlon Brando in the 1972 classic crime film, “The Godfather.”

Don Vito Corleone – the horse – ruled in his debut, at odds of 25-1.

“I was expecting him to be 5-1, 6-1,” said Hiles, who trains Don Vito Corleone for E. McCarroll Holdings and Sylvia J. Norris. “There was a lot of people around here that knew about him. He came back good, he’s doing good. I’m sure because of his name, people will start catching on to him. I’ve had a couple of people ask me about it, about The Godfather. I had a filly a few years ago called Sugar Cube that I won 10 or 11 races with. She got to be a household name in Kentucky. Everybody kept asking, ‘How’s Sugar Cube? How’s Sugar Cube? If he keeps going like he is, he may become one, too.”

Hiles said he received Don Vito Corleone last June and planned to debut the gelding at Ellis Park before he was found to a “little off” in a rear leg. A nuclear scan, Hiles said, revealed a small stress fracture in the tibia and Don Vito Corleone was turned out for four months.

“He was a colt last summer and they gelded him while he was off those four months,” Hiles said. “He wasn’t bad. You’ve got to be a really good horse to go to stud anymore. He’s a gelding now and he can enjoy himself the rest of his life and be out with horses and do whatever.”

But there’s still plenty of work ahead on the track, Hiles said. Don Vito Corleone worked a half-mile in :47.40 April 18 in advance of his second career race.

“I always thought the way he covers the ground, as long legged as he is, that he really needed the distance,” Hiles said. “I think he could have won going three-quarters, but sometimes a horse going long, it’s easier on them. He was so fit and ready to go. It didn’t bother him.”

Hiles is the longtime president of the Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. His son, Jeff, recorded his first career training victory last year at Oaklawn.

The post The Godfarther Part II: Don Vito Corleone Stretches Out For His Second Start appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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