Major Dude Proves Best In Penn Mile; Malleymoo Wires Oaks Field - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Major Dude Proves Best In Penn Mile; Malleymoo Wires Oaks Field

Major Dude, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., winning the Grade 2 Penn Mile

Adding a third graded stakes victory to his growing resume, Spendthrift Farm's Bolt d'Oro colt Major Dude overcame some traffic problems approaching the far turn before rallying under Irad Ortiz Jr. to a three-quarter length victory over Behind Enemy Lines in Friday evening's Grade 2 $400,000 Penn Mile Stakes for 3-year-olds at Penn National race course.

The Penn Mile was one of six stakes races offering purses of $950,000 on the Grantville, Pa., track's biggest night of the year. In the 3-year-old fillies' counterpart to the Penn Mile, Rockingham Ranch, David Bernsen, Talla Racing and JWS Racing's Malleymoo – trained by Jack Sisterson –  scored a half-length front-running victory over Metaphysical.

Sent off the 2-5 favorite in a field of eight, the Todd Pletcher-trained Major Dude paid $2.80 after completing the mile on firm turf in 1:33.73. Behind Enemy lines, ridden by Flavien Prat, moved to the lead on the turn for home but could not withstand the stretch charge by Major Dude. He was 4 1/2 lengths clear of Fletcher, who was followed by pace-setting Recruiter, Movisitor, Candidate, Tuskegee Airmen, and Upstate and Back.

Ortiz put Major Dude in a ground-saving position while in third, but had to tap on the brakes and was shuffled back entering the far turn. He rallied the colt three wide into the stretch and took command in the final furlong.

We kind of squeezed and shuffled back there on the turn, and and Irad got him out in the clear,” said Pletcher assistant Stu Hampton. “Once he found clear running, he did it all himself. He's a really cool horse to be around and obviously a really talented horse. Hopefully, he'll have a big rest of his 3-year-old year.”

Major Dude raced on dirt in his first three races at 2, then excelled in his first turf start in the G2 Pilgrim at the Belmont at Aqueduct meet last Oct. 2. He won the G3 Kitten's Joy at Gulfstream in February, finished second to Kentucky Derby runner-up Two Phil's on the all-weather track at Turfway in the Jeff Ruby, then was a close third to Webslinger in his last start, the G2 American Turf at Churchill Downs on Derby day. Ortiz has ridden him each race since the Pilgrim.

“I've been on him and he's great,” Ortiz said. “The one mile, flat, is beautiful for him. He appreciates the distance. The last time, a mile and a sixteenth, was a tough race. He just got beat and fought all the way to the wire. They were nice horses. It was a war to the wire and he kept fighting. He's always been nice. He always shows up. He's got a big heart and he shows it on the track.”

“It's huge,” Hampton said of the Penn Mile win. “Obviously, he's by a stallion that Spendthrift stands themselves [Bolt d'Oro], and, hopefully, we can add one with a Grade 1 in front of him at some point, but a graded states for a 3-year-old colt is a huge accolade. We're very happy to get the notch.”

Bred by Clearsky Farms, Major Dude was a $550,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase.

Malleymoo, a filly by the late English Channelm was bred by Calumet Farm and sold as a yearling for $112,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's October sale. She raced once in Ireland, winning a 14-filly race at Dundalk where she was trained by Joseph O'Brien. She then came to the U.S., where she was winless in four starts before the Penn Oaks.

Trevor McCarthy put Malleymoo on the lead, got away with soft fractions of :24.37, :49.45 and 1:12.81 for the first six furlongs, then she fought off a stretch-long challenge from Metaphysical and Adam Beschizza. Princess Bettina finished third under Prat, with Majestic Creed fourth and 4-5 favorite Royalty Interest trailing the field of five. Final time was 1:34.89.

Malleymoo paid $24.20 as the second-longest price in the field.

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