More Than Ready's Emmanuel Takes Turf Debut in Pennine Ridge

Emmanuel | Susie Raisher

'TDN Rising Star' Emmanuel (More Than Ready), at one point considered a leading Triple Crown contender, looks to have found a new home on the lawn after leading at all calls Saturday to justify 19-10 odds in Belmont Park's nine-furlong GII Pennine Ridge S.

A 6 3/4-length debut winner at Gulfstream going a mile in December followed by an easy Tampa optional claiming tally in January, the WinStar Farm and Siena Farm representative was fourth in the GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. Mar. 5 and third after showing the way in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. Apr. 9 behind subsequent GI Kentucky Derby third finisher Zandon (Upstart).

Having gotten acquainted with the lawn thanks to a pair of local breezes leading up to this, the $350,000 Keeneland September yearling found no company on the front end here as he cruised through splits of :25.19, :51.72 and 1:15.91. Pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr. seemed to play a bit of possum as he allowed his rivals to stack up behind him entering the stretch, but when he got Emmanuel to switch leads the bay found another gear to slam the door and stride away in command despite drifting slightly. Chad Brown-trained Napoleonic War (War Front) was second, while Shug McCaughey pupil Limited Liability (Kitten's Joy) rounded out the trifecta.

“He was the speed of the race,” said Ortiz, who had never ridden the winner before. “He broke well and put me in a good position. I just kept it together and stayed out of his way. He was ready. He's by More Than Ready, so he had a great pedigree to run on turf. I expected that he would like it and he did like it.”

Winning conditioner Todd Pletcher, who won the inaugural running of this event in 2014 as well as last year's renewal with another WinStar Farm co-owned making his turf debut, said, “He's bred for the turf, but he's always trained really well on the dirt. He's had some good dirt races, but we kind of wanted to experiment with this. We worked him twice on the turf. My biggest concern was two weeks ago we worked him and it had a little give to it like it does today, and I didn't think he was as good as he was the following work when it was firm. It looked like we had a pace advantage and took advantage of that and he ran well… He quickened when Irad asked him to, but I do believe he'll be even better once we get him a little firmer ground.”

The GI Caesars Belmont Derby going 10 panels July 9 is the next logical spot.

“That's what we're thinking,” Pletcher said. “We'll see how he comes out. We haven't ruled out going back to the dirt at some point. All our options are open.”

Saturday, Belmont Park
PENNINE RIDGE S.-GII, $200,000, Belmont, 6-4, 3yo, 1 1/8mT, 1:51.11, fm.
1–EMMANUEL, 118, c, 3, by More Than Ready
                1st Dam: Hard Cloth, by Hard Spun
                2nd Dam: Trensa, by Giant's Causeway
                3rd Dam: Serape, by Fappiano
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. 'TDN RISING STAR'. ($350,000  Ylg '20 KEESEP). O-WinStar Farm LLC and Siena Farm LLC; B-Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher;  J-Irad Ortiz, Jr.. $110,000. Lifetime Record: GISP, 5-3-0-1, $272,100. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Napoleonic War, 118, c, 3, War Front–Naples Parade, by Street Cry (Ire). 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O-Peter M. Brant; B-White Birch Farm, Inc. (KY); T-Chad C. Brown. $40,000.
3–Limited Liability, 118, c, 3, Kitten's Joy–Hold Harmless, by Blame. O/B-Stuart S. Janney, III LLC (KY); T-Claude R. McGaughey III. $24,000.
Margins: 1, HF, 1. Odds: 1.90, 3.60, 5.70.
Also Ran: Unanimous Consent (GB), Daunt, Elizar (Fr). Scratched: Gilded Age.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

Pedigree Notes:

Emmanuel is one of 51 Northern Hemisphere graded/group winners (106 overall) for the ever-present international powerhouse More Than Ready. He is bred on a version of the cross responsible for U.S. highest-level scorers Uni (GB) and Hit the Road, and myriad Group 1 performers in Australasia. Hard Spun is the broodmare sire of 13 graded winners, including recent European MG1SW Alcohol Free (Ire) (No Nay Never), Asian MG1SW Danon Smash (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) and champion juvenile Good Magic.
Emmanuel was produced by a half-sister to globetrotting MG1SW Hawkbill (Kitten's Joy) and 2017 GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity winner Free Drop Billy (Union Rags), who has had several strong breezers from his first crop this 2-year-old sales season.
Emmanuel's 2-year-old half-brother by Kitten's joy was a $125,000 KEESEP yearling turned €272,715 Goffs Dubai Breeze Up Sale graduate in March. Hard Cloth produced a full-sister to Emmanuel last year and a Munnings filly Apr. 8.

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