Bruce Headley, who’s trained a top-flight sprinter or two in his day, might have the next good thing in his barn after M One Rifle went gate to wire to win the $100,000 Real Good Deal Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths at Del Mar on Friday.
M One Rifle, a 3-year-old gelding by One Man Army, set fractions of 22.72 and 45.64 en route to a final clocking of 1:22.32 in the seven-furlong event for California-breds that drew a field of nine. It was M One Rifle’s second win in three starts. He went gate to wire to win a special maiden allowance at Hollywood Park by 4 1/4 lengths on July 5 after finishing third in his debut at Hollywood on April 25.
Headley, who won the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Sprint when Kona Gold ran a sizzling 1:07 3/5 at Churchill Downs, says M One Rifle most likely will appear next in the Cal Cup Sprint on Oct. 3 during the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.
“When I get them in one gear, I like to keep them there,” Headley said.
Jockey Mike Smith was impressed.
“He’s quick out of there,” he said. “He gets his feet underneath himself real quick and can really go, but he’s relaxed when he’s doing it. He’s just naturally fast. Coming away from there I got a flyer, so I just went on with him. That other speed horse (Royal Punisher) was outside, so I had to go. But he was going easy. Turning for home, he ducked in on me. He wants to do that and it helps him change leads, so I’m OK with some of it. He wants to stay on his left (lead), but that duck gets him over to his right. But he’s going to have to learn how to do that himself. He can’t be doing that all the time.”