Rail Trip on way to the Big ‘Cap?

Well, they just ran the second race today at Santa Anita and Rail Trip was the easiest of winners, galloping along through moderate splits to beat third-level allowance company. He ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.11 and jockey Jose Valdivia did not even show the 4-year-old gelding the stick through the stretch.

What does this all mean? Well, the Big ‘Cap is in 15 days and considering today’s race amounted to basically a glorified workout for the son of Jump Start, trainer Ron Ellis could bring him back and run in the $1 million signature race of the meet and still have a relatively fresh horse.

Rail Trip is now 4-0 and the more he runs, the more intriguing this guy becomes. There were even rumblings that the Dubai World Cup was perhaps on Rail Trip’s radar, but I think I’d hesitate to send a horse who’s raced only four times that far. If he was mine, I think I’d talk it over with Ellis and see if he thought the Big ‘Cap was worth a shot. If so, why not keep him home and try to win one of the country’s most prestigious handicap races in your own backyard? Why risk derailing this horse’s progress by shipping him across the world when there are so many rich handicap races right here in SoCal — i.e. the Big ‘Cap, Hollywood Park Gold Cup and Pacific Classic at Del Mar — and then the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita?

If Ellis thinks he’s up to it, keep Rail Trip home. Just say no to Dubai.

If he was your horse, what would you do?

2 thoughts on “Rail Trip on way to the Big ‘Cap?

  1. I don’t think Valdivia has ever used the stick on Rail Trip in any of his races. As for the Big ‘Cap, if Rail Trip ran in that race the three-week turnaround would probably be too fast to run in both the Big ‘Cap and Dubai, right? If they do end up taking the horse overseas I guess they feel the horse is an absolute monster and it’d be better to run it with a $6 million purse at stake than $1 million. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it won either race. How about you Art? By the way, I like the blog.

  2. Gordon,
    I have a gut feeling that Rail Trip will go in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 7 and skip the Dubai World Cup. Running such a lightly raced horse in both races I think would be a bad idea. Ellis is a good horseman and I trust he’ll do right by the horse. If he was mine, here’s the schedule I’d tentatively map out:

    Big ‘Cap — Santa Anita;
    Californian — Hollywood Park;
    Gold Cup — Hollywood Park;
    Pacific Classic — Del Mar;
    Breeders’ Cup — Santa Anita.

    If he followed that campaign, he’d be running for purses totaling $8 million. Not bad for not stepping a hoof outside of SoCal. He’s only 4 and he’s a gelding. If he stays sound and he’s as good as he appears to be, he can go east next year and run in some of those classics, i.e. the Donn Handicap, the Jockey Club Gold Cup and others, and maybe try to launch a Horse of the Year campaign. Whatever happens, it’s going to be fun watching all this pan out.

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