Kretz Racing LLC’s Mr. Roary was sent off at 22-1 in Friday’s $101,725 Eddie D. Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park but finished like a favorite when running down Tribalist to secure a neck victory under jockey Tyler Conner.
Guns Loaded reared at the start, stumbled and lost jockey Rafael Bejarano. That didn’t seem to bother Mr. Roary, who settled in last as Rocket Heat led the way on the firm downhill turf through splits of :21.03 and :43.02. Tribalist and Prize Exhibit ran in second, and were joined around the turn by the riderless Guns Loaded.
Tribalist ran down Rocket Heat in the lane with Guns Loaded sticking to his outside, but Mr. Roary was closing fast. Still last entering the turn, the Scat Daddy gelding maintained an inside path, split horses in midstretch and closed powerfully to nip Tribalist by a neck on the wire.
Mr. Roary paid $47.60 for the win while finishing 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf in 1:11.99. Tribalist had a half-length to spare on Om in third, while Forever Juanito finished another half-length back in fourth. Completing the order under the line were Coastline, Prize Exhibit, Zarqa Star, California Diamond and Rocket Heat.
Mr. Roary was trying 6 1/2 furlongs for the first time in this spot. The George Papaprodromou-trained four-year-old made his racing debut in a one-mile turf maiden at Santa Anita in October 2015 and never dropped below that distance in 16 subsequent starts.
It actually took Mr. Roary nine tries to break his maiden, and he finally got the job done while earning his first stakes victory in the Rainbow Stakes at Santa Anita in June 2016. He wouldn’t find the top three again until taking an allowance/optional claimer at Santa Anita last October 9. The chestnut closed out his sophomore campaign with an unplaced run in the Twilight Derby (G2) on November 4.
Mr. Roary didn’t return to competition until adding another allowance/optional claiming win to his resume on June 17 while going 1 1/4 miles. He followed that with a nice third in the Eddie Read Stakes (G2) at Del Mar on July 22 and entered the Eddie D. off a last-of-13 run in the Del Mar Handicap (G2) most recently on August 19.
Bred in Kentucky by Judy Hicks and Kathryn Nikkel, Mr. Roary is now 18-4-2-2, $243,310, in his career. He is out of the Seattle Slew mare If Angels Sang and counts as half-siblings Grade 2 hero Tale of a Champion, Argentinean Group 3 victress Ilusora and the dam of Brazilian Group 3 scorer Olympic Fluke.
Mr. Roary’s third dam is multiple Grade 2 queen Terlingua, best known for producing breed-shaping sire Storm Cat.
EDDIE D. STAKES QUOTES
Tyler Conner, jockey Mr. Roary, winner
“It felt good, I know we were a longshot but he handled everything well. I thought we’d be in back but then the field opened up and he just kicked on. I just ran relaxed and listened to what (trainer) George (Papaprodromou) asked me to do.
“He’s a bit of a long striding horse so I figured I’d just let him settle. I was sitting behind the favorite most of the way and when I saw him angle out I kind of jumped in. The loose horse made things a little interesting but we got through and when he saw daylight, he kicked on.”
George Papaprodromou, trainer Mr. Roary, winner
“We just thought we’d give this race a shot. He’s been running long all this time and the Eddie D. sounded good. Obviously, it worked out good and now I’ll talk to the owner and we’ll probably look at the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) next. I liked this jock (Tyler Conner) from the first time he stopped by my barn. He listens and he’s very professional.”
Victor Espinoza, jockey Tribalist, second
“Tribalist ran really well. The loose horse kind of cost me the race. You just don’t know where they’re going to go or what they’re going to do. So, I had to just go. I had to move earlier than what I wanted and just got nailed right away but overall he still ran well.”
Drayden Van Dyke, jockey Om, third
“It was a slight bump but it didn’t cost me anything (Talking about getting pushed out by California Diamond at the top of the stretch). “It was a good. I’ve never ridden him before but it seemed like he had no excuse today.”
Dan Hendricks, trainer Om, third
“The bump wasn’t too bad. It was worse at Del Mar (when bumped in the stretch en route to a third-place finish in the Del Mar Mile [G2] on August 20). “He’s been working in blinkers for quite a while and used to wear them so I don’t know. They don’t make him speed crazy though.”