ARCADIA, CA – Peter Brant’s Raging Bull strapped on the boosters and took off strongly in the stretch, rocketing home to a tremendous score in Monday’s $300,000 Shoemaker Mile Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
The Shoemaker is the first North American-based Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event of 2020. Raging Bull received an automatic berth in the Mile at Keeneland this November.
Sent from post 8 under Joel Rosario as the 5/2 second choice, Raging Bull allowed his inner-breaking foes to move forward as he angled over to the rail and saved ground heading into the clubhouse turn. Up front, Voodoo Song dueled inside of Neptune’s Storm through opening fractions of :22.16 and :44.75 while Raging Bull maintained his rear inside position.
As he began to enter the far turn, Raging Bull tipped out six-wide and circled most of the field before straightening for home with a slight lead. Bearing down the center of the lane, Raging Bull soon held a lengthy advantage over his competition as he crossed the 1/16 pole, allowing Rosario to wrap him up and bring him home safely across the wire.
Trained by Chad Brown, Raging Bull finished 2 1/4 lengths well-clear of his rivals in a final time of 1:32.72 for the firm turf route.
“He broke well and it looked like there was a good pace, he was very controlled,” Rosario said. “He just came with his run like he does all the time. He put in a nice run.”
Shortly after exiting the gate, two horses from either side of Next Shares came to a point where he had hoped to run, forcing jockey John Velazquez to call an audible while stuck several lengths behind the second-to-last runner. He reached the tail of the field by the top of the front stretch and rallied as strongly as anyone, getting up for second over the 2/1 favorite Without Parole, Brown’s second entry who looked to have plenty of run but could not get out from behind horses until the final stages.
“The plan was to be mid-pack with this horse, but we got wiped out at the start, so we were way back,” Velazquez. “He still ran a great race.”
River Boyne was just a neck behind him in fourth, with War of Will crossing a neck further back in fifth. True Valour, Neptune’s Storm, Blitzkrieg, Voodoo Song, and March to the Arch completed the original order of finish. Majestic Eagle was scratched.
Following a review of the start, the stewards determined that War of Will was the chief instigator of the contact that left Next Shares far behind early and disqualified him, placing him sixth behind True Valour.
Raging Bull’s win was his first since taking the Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar in December 2018 and improved his overall record to 13-6-2-2. The French-bred 5-year-old son of Dark Angel became racing’s newest millionaire when the $180,000 winner’s share of the purse bumped his career earnings mark to $1,100,750.
“He ran a super race and he always runs good,” said Juan Hernandez, Brown’s assistant. “He had trained well here and he was acting good. He’s just a very special horse.”
Raging Bull returned $7.80 to win, $5.40 to place, and $3.40 to show. Next Shares brought back $14.20 to place and $7.80 to show, while Without Parole paid $3 to show.