Rockemperor hops on Arklow to win Bowling Green – The Daily Gazette

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Decisions, decisions.

Coach Chad Brown laid out a game plan for Rockemperor heading to the Grade II Bowling Green at Saratoga Racetrack on Sunday. Jockey Flavien Prat executed it perfectly.

Trainer Brad Cox had one for his horse, Arklow, too.

And the way Arklow was flying at the end, he might have won that race, but jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., accepted some guilt for his judgment after the last of three corners, when Arklow was locked in by Rockemperor and had to wait just long enough to get out for the runners’ hall that he fell short by half a length on the wire.

“He worked really well, he got firm ground today and he had a really good run,” Brown said. “Really pleased with how it worked out. Flavian did an excellent job. We had a plan, and it went exactly as we thought.

Asked about Arklow’s trip, Cox smiled, laughed and said, “Um…that was OK.

“Yeah, I thought he was ready to race today and he was a little short.”

Brown also had The Imperator in the mile and three-eighths from Bowling Green in a field of five after Cibolian’s scratch, and The Imperator and jockey Manny Franco led almost the entire way before being passed by his mate from Rockemperor stable to the sixteenth pole.

By then, Arklow had found clear navigation on the outside after Rockemperor swerved while bounding forward, but ran out of trail before he could catch Rockemperor.

“Coming into the first corner, everyone went for it, so it worked out well and I headed on the inside and then traveled well around it,” Prat said. “I was happy to be where I was, and when I knocked him down he kicked me good.”

“I mean, he raced well,” said Ortiz, the competition’s leading driver in the first 14 days of racing. “I think we were unlucky, or I waited too long maybe – too long to get him out. That’s what I think.”

“It makes him very, very interesting if he has a clean run down the lane,” Cox said.

Six-year-old Rockemperor topped $1 million in earnings with the win.

Eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in November, he had not won since the Grade I Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park in September.

Rockemperor finished second to Cross Border at last year’s Bowling Green.

“He’s starting to get old, but he’s starting to get his form back,” Brown said. “The key is that when we enter the chute the ground is going to be a bit difficult. We will keep all options open and see where it takes us.

Despite the loss, Cox can’t wait to see Arklow move from Bowling Green to the Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs.

The 8-year-old, who was back after a nearly nine-month layoff, won this race twice and finished second twice.

“Overall it was a step up to Kentucky Downs, and hopefully we’ll be competitive for the race he’s still showing up for,” Cox said. “I’ll tell you, he’s never been a fantastic workhorse, stable enough, and he hasn’t lost a step. I thought it was a great run after the layoff.

More from The Daily Gazette:

Categories: On the track, Sports

About Adam Gray

Check Also

India’s new batting approach, bowling woes: Takeaways from Australia’s T20 series

India’s new aggressive T20I batting approach and execution of their top order has given the …