In an exhilarating head and head fight to the wire, fitness instructor Dan Blacker’s Struck the Roadway dominated by a neck over 5-2 preferred Smooth Like Strait, in Saturday’s $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita, supplying Blacker, 38, with his very first Grade 1 victory. Ridden for the very first time by eastern-based Florent Geroux, Struck the Roadway, 4-year-old colt by More Than Ready, out of the U S Ranger mare Highway Mary, got the mile on turf in 1:34.48.

With longshot Flying Scotsman hustled from his outdoors post, Smooth Like Strait fell under a stalking journey second, while Struck the Roadway was at joint 3rd at the rail with Casa Creed to his outdoors and about 3 lengths off the lead heading into the far turn.

Leaving the quarter pole, Smooth Like Strait, under Umberto Rispoli, presumed command while Struck the Roadway was required to wait on racing space behind a three-horse spread that consisted of Smooth Like Strait, Flying Scotsman and Casa Creed. Filled with run, Geroux discovered a joint 2 from the rail a furlong out and from there, it was game-on in between Struck the Roadway and the runner-up.

” I was quite nervous, however I believed if he can survive, he’s got a great chance,” stated Blacker in recanting the last quarter mile. “Fortunately ‘Flo’ discovered a space and he showed he’s the very best today. I provided myself ten years to win a Grade I and fortunately we got it performed in year 9. I do not wish to make this everything about me. It’s everything about the horse, he’s such an expert animal, he is a real racehorse. He was born that method, he’s simply a real professional athlete therefore psychologically concentrated on racing.”

With Rispoli choosing to stick with numerous graded winner Smooth Like Strait over current G3 Thunder Roadway Stakes winner Struck the Roadway, Geroux was more than pleased to take the Kilroe call and Struck the Roadway was off at 4-1, returning $10.40, $5.40 and $4.20.

” The journey made the distinction, we got really fortunate with the journey,” stated Geroux. “It opened at the correct time and the horse did the job. It was all heart. Often when you need to go through a difficult situation, the horse does not always work together, however he did excellent and did whatever I asked him to … I liked my horse and the one horse (Smooth Like Strait), and I believed it was going to be really difficult in between those 2. I had the ability to follow him all the method around and made it through on the within.”

Owned by D K Racing, LLC, Radley Horse, Inc., Taste of Triumph Stables, Rick Gold, Tony Maslowski and Dave Odmark, Struck the Roadway, in taking his very first Grade I stakes, enhanced his general mark to 9-6-0-0 and with the winner’s share of $240,000, increased his profits to $494,751.

In a substantial effort, Smooth Like Strait, who completed a neck much better than a flying Count Again, paid $4.40 and $3.40.

Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Count Again rallied from far back and paid $6.60 while off at 16-1.

Portions on the race were 23.17, 47.32, 1:11.28 and 1:22.91.

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