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?