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Red Route One won the 2023 Bath House Row Stakes at Oaklawn Park, a “Win & You’re In” for the 2023 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico on May 20 that gave trainer Steve Asmussen his record-setting 868th victory, the most in track history. With a starting spot secured in the Triple Crown’s Middle Jewel, is the Gun Runner colt a legitimate threat to win big in Baltimore? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who has had a milestone-filled meet, reached another milestone Saturday when Winchell Thoroughbred LLC’s Red Route One made him the winningest trainer in Oaklawn’s history with the victory in the $200,000 Bath House Row Stakes. It was career win 868 for Asmussen, who had tied the late Bob Holthus with a win on Friday. On Feb. 20, Asmussen became the first trainer in North America to reach 10,000 career wins when Bet He’s Ready won at Oaklawn.
In the Bath House Row, Red Route One fell back early and raced in last place while Victory Formation led the field through fractions of :22 4/5 and :46 4/5 for the first half mile. Victory Formation held a narrow lead over his stablemate, Tapit Shoes, entering the stretch and the two battled towards the wire. Tapit Shoes began to edge clear before being caught in the final jump by Red Route One, who got up late by a head. Victory Formation was third. The winning time was 1:50 4/5 for 1 1/8 miles over a fast track.
The win gave jockey Joel Rosario a sweep of all three stakes on Saturday’s card. He also won the $150,000 Valley of Vapors with Merlazza and the $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) with Proxy.
“I always had confidence in the horse,” Rosario said of Red Route One. “It looked like when we got to the sixteenth pole that we had the race won. Then, they kept moving. But he gave everything to me. It was just a close race.”
Red Route One, who was winning for the second time in nine starts, earned an automatic berth to the Preakness Stakes (G1) May 20 with the win.
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“He ran straight through the wire. He ran straight through the wire. He still gallops out so huge. It feels like there’s more there. Maybe the victory, maybe the winning … Joel (Rosario) gave him a dream trip. I think that he waited until the (Kenny) McPeek horse (Interlock Empire) ran up outside of him and then just got some momentum with him.”
“I always had confidence in the horse. It looked like when we got to the sixteenth pole that we had the race won. Then, they kept moving. But he gave everything to me. It was just a close race.”
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