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Hutcheson Preview: Roderick Returns
Roderick (Credit: Coglianese Photos)

Hutcheson Preview: Roderick Returns

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Breeze Easy’s Roderick returns for his 2021 debut with big plans for the year ahead, starting in Saturday’s $75,000 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

The Hutcheson is a 6-furlong dirt sprint restricted to 3-year-olds. This year’s edition is the ninth event on a 12-race card and has a local post time of 4:14 PM.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Hutcheson:

1. Warrior’s Pride 5/1 – He gives stakes company a second try after setting the pace and fading to fifth in the Limehouse Stakes over this course and distance on January 2. He broke his maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream Park West and found repeat success against optional claimers here in early December. Expect him to gun hard from the rail.

2. Worlds on High 6/1 – He broke his maiden on debut over this course and distance last September while risked for a $50k tag, then finished second and third in 2 subsequent 6-furlong dirt sprints against optional claimers. The first of two from trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. was 1 length behind stablemate and returning rival Lauda Speed last time out.

3. Willy Boi 8/1 – He won 2 straight over this course and distance against Florida-breds to start his career, then set the pace before fading to to eighth in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull Stakes (G3) last time out. He should appreciate cutting back to a familiar distance and has the necessary tactical speed to sit behind what could become a hotly-contested pace.

4. Roderick 2/1 – He was a sharp 8 1/4-length debut winner for trainer Wesley Ward, who’s known for having his horses ready to run lights-out early. He struggled mightily in his next 3 starts, all stakes, before dropping down to the allowance ranks and dusting a 5-furlong Churchill Downs field by 3 3/4 lengths despite being geared down late.

“He’s always had a world of talent,” Ward said. “He kind of was going through the learning curve after his maiden win there. We got him back, we gave him a good amount of time to get him mentally right, and he ran a really nice race his last race of the year at Churchill.”

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5. Lauda Speed 5/1 – He beat his stablemate Worlds On High and five other optional claimers over this course and distance last time out while having to grind out a bumpy trip between rivals. He seems to have found a home sprinting on dirt after his connections tried putting him on turf in 3 of his past 4 starts, including running fourth in the Dania Beach Stakes.

6. Real Talk 7/2 – He steps up to face open company stakes rivals after beating first-level Florida-bred allowance rivals by 3 3/4 lengths while going 5 1/2 furlongs here last month. He broke his maiden on debut against his own kind while going 6 1/2 furlongs over this course, so the distance should be well within his wheelhouse.

7. Ultimate Badger 8/1 – He takes a much-needed class drop and cuts back in distance after facing several tough horses in longer, higher-level stakes. He broke his maiden on debut by 4 1/4 lengths going 5 furlongs in the Ellis Park mud and stretched out to win a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming route at Churchill Downs.

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