Battle of Hastings Rolls to River City Handicap Win on Breeders' Cup Eve

Nov 05, 2010 Gary Yunt

Mike House’s Battle of Hastings (GB) found clear sailing after swinging four wide at the head of the stretch and rolled to a 2 ½-length victory over Midnight Mischief in the 33rd running of the $111,200 River City Handicap (GIII) on Thursday afternoon at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Greg Fox and ridden by Joel Rosario, Battle of Hastings raced in fifth place in the early going as Wise River set fractions of :23.70, :47.40 and 1:11.67. Leaving the far turn, four horses moved on Wise River as Battle of Hastings was shuffled back to sixth place.

Rosario waited until the top the lane to swing Battle of Hastings out from behind horses, made the lead at the eighth pole and cruised to victory. Battle of Hastings, a 4-year-old son of Royal Applause out of the Night Shift mare Subya (GB), covered the 1 1/8 miles on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:48.90.

The victory was worth $66,876 and increased Battle of Hastings’ earnings to $1,344,216 with a career record of 22-7-5-2. It was the fourth graded stakes victory for Battle of Hastings.

Battle of Hastings, the second choice in the field of eight, returned $5.80, $4 and $2.80. Midnight Mischief, ridden by Julien Leparoux, returned $7.20 and $5 and finished a half-length in front of Boots Ahead, who returned $5.60 to show under Rajiv Maragh. Completing the order of finish was Allie’s Event, favored Rahystrada, Expansion, Schramsberg and Wise River.

Friday is the first of two days of the 27th Breeders’ Cup World Championships with a 10-race program that begins at 2 p.m. (all times Eastern). In addition to six Breeders’ Cup races that culminate with the $2 million Ladies’ Classic (GI) scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Churchill Downs will present the 18th running of the Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) slated for 3:30 p.m. as well as The Jimmy V “Don’t Give Up … Don’t Ever Give Up!” overnight stake for 3-year-olds.


JOEL ROSARIO (jockey, Battle of Hastings (GB), winner): “I had to be really patient. That’s what you have to do, because if you’re not patient, it’s not going to happen. He really kicked on after we got clear. I just kind of waited to see how the horse wanted to go and waited for the right time.”

GREGORY FOX (trainer, Battle of Hastings (GB), winner): “He showed he has the attitude. This horse has demonstrated in his previous races that he will make a move in the stretch. For whatever reason the timing didn’t seem to be right for him today. Joel (Rosario) had to be really patient. I have been watching Joel ride a lot and he has an amazing feel for the field as it changes in a race.”

BILL MOTT (trainer, Midnight Mischief, runner-up) – “He looked like a couple of horses made early moves leaving the half-mile pole and got maybe shuffled just a little bit around the turn, but he angled out and he closed well enough.  It was a good race coming out of conditioned allowance races into stake company.  I thought it was a big effort.
    “The winner has been a good horse for quite a while.  He probably was one of the better 3-year-olds in the country last year, so he’s proven.”

JULIEN LEPAROUX (jockey, Midnight Mischief, runner-up) – “He ran good.  He finished up very nice.  We had a good position and I had to wait a little when a couple of horses moved early on the backside, but I was happy to be there.  I got him out where the ground might be a little bit better and finished up very nice.”
Q: What are your thoughts on the turf course heading into Breeders’ Cup weekend?
“I think it’s really soft.  I don’t think they need more water on it.  I know the Europeans love it (a soft course) and it doesn’t feel bad or anything, but for here it’s like when we get rain all night.”

RAJIV MARAGH (jockey, Boots Ahead, third) – “He ran good.  He’s got a lot of fight in him.  He kept on and tried hard all the way to the end.”
Q: The winner is a horse that has proven he’s a pretty nice horse …
“The winner has earned over a million dollars.  You don’t win a million dollars by accident.  He’s performed a high levels and he showed he’s a good horse today.  But my horse, he tried as hard as he could.”

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