SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Peter Brant’s Raging Bull implemented a stalking style that would’ve made his namesake proud on Friday, waiting until the right moment to explode in the stretch and knock out his opponents at the wire in the Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga.
Breaking well from post 4 as the 5-2 favorite under Joel Rosario, Raging Bull was content to sit in mid-pack while Gidu shot out to a lengthy early lead and set initial splits of :23.44, :47.23, and 1:11.96. Roused as he entered the far turn, Raging Bull began picking off slower opponents, then tipped out to run five-wide at the top of the stretch. Continuing to gobble up ground in the center of the stretch, Raging Bull surged past Ride a Comet in deep stretch before nailing new leader Maraud right at the wire in a final time of 1:43.69 for the 1 1/16-mile event over a yielding turf course.
“Working with him, it took a little bit of time,” Rosario said. “It seemed like he wasn’t handling the turf good on the backside for a little bit. For a second, I thought maybe the horse on the lead was going to stay there, but I’m glad my horse got it done.”
Maraud’s hard-fought effort came up just short, but he was well clear of Ride a Comet and Gidu. Combatant‘s return to turf after spending 2018 on the Triple Crown trail didn’t produce the results that his connections had hoped for, assuming they hoped for better than a fifth-place finish. Have At It, Westerland, Gunnison, and Gemonteer completed the order of finish.
Raging Bull’s win was his first in a stakes event and improved his overall record to 4-3-1-0 for trainer Chad Brown. The 3-year-old French-bred son of the Irish stallion Dark Angel has earned $218,500 in his young career.
Raging Bull returned $7.30 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.90 to show. Maraud brought back $5 to place and $3.60 to show, while Ride a Comet paid $4.50 to show.