West Virginia Derby Winner Red Route One May Switch Back To Turf For Dueling Grounds Derby

Sunday’s Grade 3 West Virginia Derby winner Red Route One is expected to make his next start in the $1 million National Thoroughbred League Dueling Grounds Derby on Sept. 3 at the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs.

In this case, the dirt-to-turf makes a lot of sense and cents — more accurately, big bucks. The Steve Asmussen-trained Red Route One actually began his career with a victory over the Kentucky Downs grass last year, after which he headed to the dirt to pursue the spring classics for 3-year-olds. The other thing: Red Route One is owned by Ron Winchell, co-managing partner with Marc Falcone in Kentucky Downs and its sister The Mint Gaming Hall properties.

“I think since he had been successful there last year, we have always had our eye on Kentucky Downs to bring him back and run him this year,” said David Fiske, the longtime racing and bloodstock manager for Winchell Thoroughbreds. “Because he was successful and because the purses are what they are. We were hoping to get him into the richest race that made sense, and after winning (the $500,000 West Virginia Derby), the Dueling Grounds Derby looks like a real possibility.”

There’s also the idea that 1 5/16 miles might be right up Red Route One’s alley.

“It seems like all year long, he’s been dropping out the back and the makes a big run, which is kind of like how a lot of turf races are run,” Fiske said. “Slow early and fast late. Sometimes if there is enough pace in front of you and you can get there and sometimes you don’t.”

Red Route One is a son of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, co-owned by Winchell with Three Chimneys Farm, where he’s a record-setting stallion. Red Route One also comes from a long and highly successful female family of Winchell-bred horses that includes 2014 Kentucky Oaks, Breeders’ Cup Distaff and champion 3-year-old filly winner Untapable. There’s a fair amount of turf in that family. RR1’s second dam, Fun House, was a Grade 2 winner on grass who was sired by 1989 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Prized. (She also is the dam of Untapable.) Also in the pedigree is Grade 1 turf winner Paddy O’ Prado. Gun Runner himself is out of a mare sired by six-time Group 1 turf winner Giants Causeway.

“I think he was just ready to run, and $150,000 maiden race, why not?” Fiske said of starting Red Route One out on grass. “And there is some grass form in the family, so let’s go see.”

With his West Virginia Derby victory, Red Route One became a millionaire. Now a graded-stakes winner, he also was second in Oaklawn Park’s Grade 2 Rebel and Grade 3 Southwest, as well as fourth in the Preakness Stakes after winning Oaklawn’s listed Bath House Row Stakes. Off his Kentucky Downs victory last year, RR1 was third in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity won by champion Forte.

The post West Virginia Derby Winner Red Route One May Switch Back To Turf For Dueling Grounds Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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