Mandella Rules Out Travers; Mulling Options with Geaux Rocket Ride

Geaux Rocket Ride | Sarah Andrew

Pin Oak Stud's Geaux Rocket Ride (Candy Ride {Arg}) exited his victory in the GI Haskell S. in good order, trainer Richard Mandella reported Sunday. The victory earned the lightly raced colt an automatic berth in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic and Mandella said he has several routes to consider to get to that Nov. 4 race at Santa Anita.

The Sept. 23 GI Pennsylvania Derby at Parx, the Sept. 2 GI Pacific Classic at Del Mar and the Sept. 30 GI Awesome Again S. at Santa Anita are all on the table. While Geaux Rocket Ride would be facing just 3-year-olds at Parx, he would face older horses in both California options.

“I'll think about all of those races and about running against older horses,” Mandella said.

Mandella has ruled out another trip east for the Aug. 26 GI Travers S. at Saratoga.

“I think it's too much to think about, taking him to Saratoga,” Mandella said. “He's young and he's not raced very much and we've pushed him along to get to this point. I don't like the idea of bringing him to Monmouth, bringing him back to California, and then coming back for the Travers. We pushed him to this point and we don't want to keep pushing. The Travers doesn't seem like the right thing to do.”

A debut winner at Santa Anita in January, Geaux Rocket Ride was second in the Mar. 4 GII San Felipe S., but was knocked off the Triple Crown trail when a fever caused him to miss the GI Santa Anita Derby. He returned with a win in the June 4 Affirmed S. and was earning his first graded score in the Haskell.

Asked if having the Breeders' Cup at his home track of Santa Anita would give Geaux Rocket Ride an advantage in November, Mandella said, “It does if you're fast enough. We think he's fast enough and so far he's passed every test. But that's another step up to get to the Classic and it's against older horses so we'll just have to wait and see if he leads us there.”

Geaux Rocket Ride and the Bob Baffert-trained Arabian Knight (Uncle Mo), the third-place Haskell finisher, were scheduled to ship back to Southern California Tuesday.

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