By Tommy Raymond
Jim and Donna Daniell’s Rushie stalked the pacesetters in Saturday’s $500,000 Pat Day Mile (G2) at Churchill Downs, then seized the lead approaching the seven-furlong point and prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths beneath jockey Javier Castellano. Trained by Michael McCarthy, the gray sophomore earned his first stakes success in the process.
Vertical Threat sped to the lead early, posting a quarter-mile in :23.14, a half-mile in :46.22 and six furlongs in 1:09.77. All through this time, Rushie kept within striking distance and had plenty left. The gray responded willingly when called on by his Hall of Fame pilot. The winner, who was the 5-2 second betting choice, held sway against runner-up Sonneman.
“I had the perfect trip,” Castellano said afterward. “I was outside and took advantage of it. The way the race developed it was perfect, it was what I was looking for today. We sat two or three lengths off the pace and I kept track of those horses. When we turned for home, I asked him and the horse responded so well.”
“I think the mile was perfect today for the horse. I’m glad we got it done.”
Completing the order of finish were Tap It to Win, Shashashakemeup, the favored Echo Town, Vertical Threat and Digital. Cezanne and No Parole were both scratched.
Rushie, a $70,000 OBS March two-year-old, was bred in Florida by Ocala Stud and produced by the unraced Colonel John mare Conquest Angel. Prior to Saturday, the gray owned third-place finishes in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and Blue Grass (G2). Saturday’s winner’s share of $303,800 boosted the colt’s bankroll to $493,151 and record to 7-3-1-2.
McCarthy didn’t specify a next start for Rushie.