High Rate of Return wins Heritage Place Futurity
Trainer Ed Hardy has a million-dollar streak at the Heritage Place Futurity.
Now, he's hoping for even more at quarter horse racing's main event - the All American Futurity.
High Rate of Return outran favorite Mighty B Valiant in a side-by-side race to the wire to win the Heritage Place Futurity on Saturday night. It was Hardy's second straight victory in the nation's first million-dollar quarter horse race of the year.
''It's awesome,'' Hardy said after getting doused with champagne in the winner's circle at Remington Park. ''I never expected it. ... I had the grace of God, I guess, to have two good horses in a row. It's just amazing, and it worked out. I couldn't be happier.''
Starting the farthest from the rail out of the No. 10 post, High Rate of Return - a 2-year-old son of Mr Jess Perry - led from the start and pulled away from the 3-5 favorite at the end of the 350 yards to win by half a length in 17.426 seconds on a fast track. Mighty B Valiant broke from the No. 9 post.
''It don't hurt to have competition,'' jockey Larry Payne said. ''When you've got a horse to run with the competition like I thought we had, that's exactly where I wanted to be.''
Mighty B Valiant, under top jockey G.R. Carter, was a heavy favorite after winning his first three starts. High Rate of Return went off at 6-1 and paid $13.60, $3.60 and $2.60.
Mighty B Valiant returned $2.60 and $2.20. Dm Strait Up and Ranch Candy finished in a dead heat for third. Dm Strait Up paid $4, and Ranch Candy $2.20.
High Rate of Return's trainer and jockey were pleased with the post position, with Mighty B Valiant as their next-door neighbor.
''I thought it was the best thing ever. I thought that was perfect,'' Hardy said. ''But Larry just told me, when the gates kicked, it was all over. The horse was gone.''
Hardy won last year's million-dollar race with 25-1 long-shot Givinitaroyaleffort in a multi-horse photo finish. He's also part of the Austin, Texas-based LMR 2011 ownership group for High Rate of Return, meaning he'll take home an even bigger share of the winner's purse of more than $432,000.
''We were anticipating this kind of race,'' Hardy said. ''This is a nice colt, and he's just coming on.''
Hardy said he had $46,000 to spend at a sale and used it all to pick up High Rate of Return, who's living up to his name by winning his first three races - all at Remington Park.
''The first time we worked that colt, I said, `Ed, we've really got something here. I don't know if we'll have him ready for the Heritage, but we'll sure have him ready for the All American,''' Payne said.
That's exactly where he's headed next. Hardy said the California-bred colt won't race again until attempting to qualify for the All American Futurity, which is run on Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.
''We're going to wait and go to All American,'' he said.