United Repeats in Eddie Read At Del Mar

Under Del Mar’s leading rider Flavien Prat, United bettered his last-out fourth place in the Grade 2 Charlie Whittingham with a repeat victory in the Grade 2 Eddie Read, following up his half-length win in the 2020 edition at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif.

United stalked the early pace fifth behind the front-running Award Winner, who set steady fractions of :25.19 for the first quarter and :49.43 for the half-mile. The Richard Mandella trainee waited for the final turn to make his move, Prat sending the Giant’s Causeway gelding to the outside for running room. Both Smooth Like Strait and United challenged Award Winner coming out of the turn, Smooth Like Strait briefly taking the lead as United bore down on him, passing the Michael McCarthy trainee in the final strides to win by a neck. Count Again rallied late for third. Vintage Print, Award Winner, Restrainedvengence, and Say the Word rounded out the field. The final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:49.49.

United paid $8.60, $3.40, and $2.80. Smooth Like Strait paid $2.60 and $2.20. Count Again paid $2.80 to show.

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“I could tell the fractions were slow; I could feel it,” said Prat. “But my horse was travelling well and he was comfortable. I knew his last race wasn’t his real race and I felt he’d run better today. The only question was being able to get out. He did and ran well through the lane. He’s back.”

After posting four wins in six races in 2020, United started 2021 with a victory in the Grade 3 San Luis Rey Stakes before finishing fourth in the G2 Charlie Whittingham, both at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. With this win in the G2 Eddie Read, United has two wins in three starts, to bring his record to nine wins in 20 lifetime starts for career earnings of $1,675,549.

“He ran well and I’m very proud of him,” said Mandella. “He was coming off a terrible race, I’ve never had him run that bad. We worried and watched and did every test you can do on him and we found a bruise under his shoe two weeks old. It didn’t seem like that big a deal, but it must have been. We’ll probably look at the Del Mar Handicap next.”

Owned by LNJ Foxwoods, United is a 6-year-old gelding by Giant’s Causeway out of Indy Punch, by Pulling Punches. He was bred in Kentucky by Rosemont Farm and consigned by Four Star Sales at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale and sold to Solis and Litt for $300,000.

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