Darley wins at Woodbine
Darley Stable's 2-year-old colt Unification easily beat nine maiden runners at Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario, Canada on Saturday going 6 1/2 furlongs under jockey Robert Landry. The stable also had two impressive second place finishes at Belmont with 2-year-old colts Rondo, in a 6 furlong Maiden Special Weight, and Changing Weather in the $300,000 Belmont Futurity.
Unification broke alertly, but rated just off the leaders. He took the lead at the 1/8 pole and drove clear by three lengths. "He ran a very professional race and showed a level of maturity that surprised me," said his trainer Eoin Harty.
Assistant trainer Brian Ange, who has been supervising the colt's training since June, was also impressed with the dark bay's performance, saying, "He's real smart, he knows what he's doing. He's got a good mind."
Bred in Ontario by Shannon Farms, the Dixie Union colt earned a supplemental breeder's award and took home $40,800 Canadian dollars. Purchased for $750,000 at Barretts' March 2-year-old in training sale, Unification is out of the Devil's Bag mare Devil's Orchid.
At Belmont, Darley's first-time starter Rondo impressed connections by coming wide into the stretch and finishing just a half-length shy of the win while 5 3/4 lengths clear of the remaining eight horses in the field. The Grand Slam bay colt is out of a Storm Cat mare and was ridden by Edgar Prado. "He ran huge," said Harty. "He had to steady mid-turn. The winner had a length on us and Rondo just couldn't get to him. It was a very impressive performance."
Darley's Changing Weather, a gray son of Storm Boot who won his first out impressively by 3 1/2 lengths at Saratoga, was bothered from the start of the Belmont Futurity by Disco's Son, who stumbled badly and lost his rider shortly after the break.
"He had to contend with the loose horse for most of the way," said Harty. "He appeared to be a little intimidated at the top of the stretch with the loose horse on his inside and the winner to his outside, but he persevered all the way to the wire to finish second, 4 1/2 lengths clear of the rest of the field. He was giving away a big experience edge to the rest of the field, as all of his opponents had the benefit of multiple starts. He lost nothing in defeat."