Raging Bull (Dark Angel) wins the Makers Mark Mile at Keeneland on 4.9.21. Irad Ortiz up, Chad Brown trainer, Peter Brant owner.
With a quick pace to chase down, reigning champion jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. made a bold decision to move a bit earlier than his late-running rivals in Friday’s Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland Race Course. The choice paid off in a big way when the frontrunners dropped back and Raging Bull got a head start down the stretch, growing bold on the lead and pulling away to win by two lengths on the wire. It was the first win since May of 2020 for Peter Brant’s 6-year-old son of Dark Angel, who completed a mile over the “good” turf in 1:33.86.
Trained by Chad Brown and sent to post at odds of 7-2, Raging Bull is now a three-time Grade 1 winner with a record of 7-3-3 from 18 lifetime starts, and total earnings of nearly $1.5 million.
“Both horses (Raging Bull and stablemate and third-place finisher Sacred Life [FR]) ran great, especially given the layoffs they were facing,” Brown said. “Raging Bull got a great trip and setup. He’s much more effective with a solid pace in front of him. Irad deserves a lot of credit for getting him into the race early and securing a great spot into the first turn.”
An early speed battle erupted between Get Smokin, Somelikeithotbrown, and Flying Scotsman, who traded punches through fractions of :22.47 and :45.65. Ortiz had Raging Bull settled just behind Field Pass in fifth against the rail, no more than four lengths behind the leaders down the backstretch.
At the three-eighths pole, Ortiz sent Raging Bull hard up the rail to take third, then angled out sharply to maintain his momentum while three wide as the leaders straightened for home. Raging Bull easily inherited the lead, and had more than enough left to hold off the deep closers through the length of the stretch.
Ride A Comet ran on credibly to finish second, while Sacred Life was third. Field Pass checked in fourth, and 5-2 favorite Hit the Road was fifth.
“He was traveling so good down the backside,” Ortiz said of Raging Bull. “I was close to the leaders. I tried to stay in contact with the field. He broke sharp today. I had an advantage there. The first turn, I let him run then I slowed him down. He relaxed so well. He was like 3 or 4 lengths behind the leaders. I said I’m just gonna wait until it’s time to go. By the three-eighths pole, I saw some separation so I went for it a little early. He responded well, so I just went for it. He still had something at the end.”
Bred in France by Dayton Investments Limited, Raging Bull is out of the Mr. Greeley mare Rosa Bonheur, a daughter of five-time graded stakes winner Rolly Polly (Mukaddamah).
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