by Jeremy Plonk
June 1, 2020
Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.
May 25-31, 2020
MVP: Raging Bull
Owner: Peter Brant
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Performance: A Memorial Day western foray saw Raging Bull knock out the Grade 1 $300,000 Shoemaker Mile field at Santa Anita on May 25. The 5-year-old French-bred closed 8 lengths over the final half-mile and drew clear by 2-1/4 emphatic lengths, besting a deep field that included Next Shares, favorite and barnmate Without Parole, River Boyne and Preakness winner War of Will. The victory pushed Raging Bull’s career earnings over the $1 million mark. It was his first win since the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby of 2018 after knocking on the door in top-class company throughout 2019.
On Tap: The recently rescheduled July 10 Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland should be the next circled date. Belmont’s new-fangled summer meet has only the Grade 3 Poker on July 4 for turf milers on its slate, and for half the purse. Subsequent races like Saratoga’s Fourstardave and the Woodbine Mile were on the 2019 travel log for Raging Bull and would be logical spots again if all goes well.
Honorable Mentions: No doubt, Bell’s the One turned in the most eye-catching victory of the week with a rallying score in the May 30 Grade 3 Winning Colors at Churchill Downs. She blew past favorites Break Even and Mia Mischief in 1:08.70 for 6 furlongs. Dynasty of Her Own advanced to 4-for-5 lifetime with a wire-to-wire score in the May 31 California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields. Her fellow Jonathan Wong stablemate Keeper Of the Stars proved her February upset of Jolie Olimpica in the Buena Vista was no fluke, doubling down May 25 to win Santa Anita’s Grade 1 Gamely. Also at Santa Anita, Fighting Mad and Laura’s Light earned high marks in stakes company. Fighting Mad wired the field May 31 in the Grade 2 Santa Maria on just 14 days’ rest, besting a bunch that included top west coast mare CeCe. Meanwhile, Laura’s Light improved her mark to 3-for-3 in local stakes with a Grade 3 Honeymoon score May 30. In West Virginia, Penguin Power upped his record to 11-for-14 at Charles Town on May 30 in the Confucius Say Stakes, including a 4-for-4 lifetime record in stakes.