Rock City Roadhog found his way back to the winner’s circle. It just took him a long time.
The 10-year-old Arkansas-bred son of Valid Expectations and Hanyah won the Bosselman-Gus Fonner Stakes last year. He won a race at Prairie Meadows on July 19 and hadn’t won since.
But he ended that run of seven races without a win by winning a $10,000 optional claiming race Tuesday at Fonner Park.
“Finally got back to the winner’s circle,” trainer Schuyler Condon said.
It wasn’t easy. Jockey Freddy Manrrique had to squeeze Rock City Roadhog through a small hole coming down the stretch to outrun Dance Doctor, ridden by Dakota Wood, to the wire to win the six-furlong race by a length in 1:14.
“I thought we’d be a little closer,” Condon said. “I didn’t think we’d be as far back as we were, but Freddy rode a heck of a race today. I have to give all the credit to Manrrique.”
Rock City Roadhog then had to survive a steward’s inquiry and a rider’s claim of foul, but both were denied and the win was on the books.
It was the first six-furlong race Rock City Roadhog had run at Fonner Park. He was known more as a route horse, but Condon came to the conclusion that at his age he can’t go a distance any more.
“He had a few problems when we got here,” Condon said. “We got those fixed and we shortened him up. He doesn’t want to go that mile any more so we’re going to keep him at six from here on out.”
Rock City Roadhog had 27 days off since finishing eighth in this year’s Bosselman. That came on the heels of a 10th-place finish in the Dowd Mile two weeks before that.
“We went back to ground zero with him,” Condon said. “We worked him three furlongs the other day and put a little speed into him. That was our plan was to run him six furlongs after he threw a clunker in the Bosselman.”
Rock City Roadhog paid $14.60, $7.00 and $3.40. Dance Doctor paid $9.20 and $3.40 for second while Lovethatcause paid $2.40 to show.
The win was worth $5,040 for owner Pass Line Stables. Rock City Roadhog has now won 23 races in 84 career starts with total earnings of $571,418.
- Jockey Chris Fackler had two wins Tuesday. He won on Zyxyz for trainer Shelby Sola in the first and on Super Charlie for trainer Dean Bliss in the fifth.
- Jockey Francisco Arrieta also had two wins on Bandwith for trainer Ronnie Riggs in the third and on Hot Blooded Song for trainer Dalton Dieter in the eighth.
- Trainer Isai Gonzalez held onto his lead in the race for the trainer’s title with two wins. Dakota Wood won on Retrofit in the second and Jake Olesiak on Runaounddancing in the ninth.
- With one day of racing left, Gonzalez has 38 wins while Kelli Martinez is in second with 35 wins. They both have three entered Wednesday, but Gonzalez has two in the same race.
- After failing to reach $1 million on Monday, the handle at Fonner jumped back up to $3,384,204 on Tuesday. Fonner also topped the $100 million mark for the live racing season.
- The Dinsdale Pick 5 Jackpot paid $1,084 for five correct. The carryover into Wednesday’s final day of racing is $160,080 with a mandatory payout scheduled.