Independence Hall Starts 3-year-Old Campaign in Jerome

Independence Hall Starts 3-year-Old Campaign in Jerome

By Bob Ehalt BloodHorse

Basketballs bounce.

So can bank checks.

You can also add race horses to that list, especially if you adhere to one of the key philosophies espoused by the speed figure crafters at Ragozin Thoroughbred Data.

For a horse, a “bounce” comes into play after an equine athlete turns in an especially fast and improved performance. It entails a regression in the horse’s next start, unless it gets some extra rest before its next start.

All of which explains why trainer Michael Trombetta opted to enter the highly promising Independence Hall in the $150,000 Jerome Stakes for sophomores Jan. 1 at Aqueduct Racetrack. Without question, the soon-to-turn 3-year-old son of Constitution is coming off a performance two months ago that can be described as especially fast and improved.

Originally owned by Kathleen and Robert N. Verratti, Independence Hall registered a sharp 4 3/4-length win in a Sept. 21 maiden race at Parx Racing that caught the eye of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners president and founder Aron Wellman. Joining forces with the Twin Creeks Racing Stable of Randy Gullatt and Steve Davison, they bought shares of the precocious colt and eagerly awaited his next start, which came Nov. 3 in the $150,000 Nashua Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.

Davison, co-owner of the Ragozin service, and Gullatt had a particular interest in Independence Hall as they raced Constitution and have breeding rights to WinStar Farm’s popular first-crop sire of 2019.

Their hopes were met—and then some—when the dark bay colt raised his game to a new level. He simply demolished his eight rivals in the one-turn, mile stakes, romping to a 12 1/4-length victory in the scintillating stakes-record time of 1:34.66.

“We were surprised by that performance,” Trombetta said about the victory at 9-1 odds. “We had confidence that he would go up there and run a big race, but he exceeded our expectations.”

The new expectations led to handicappers backing Independence Hall to the tune of 13-1 in the first round of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

“With a 2-year-old with his makeup that puts in a performance like that,” Wellman said, “you have to start to treat him like a Derby horse.”

Yet the colt’s connections, mindful of the “bounce,” were more than willing to be patient, resist any temptation to run Independence Hall in the two-turn Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Dec. 7, and point for the Jerome at the same one-turn mile as the Nashua.

“In conversations with the owners, the horse ran so fast that they wanted to give him whatever time they could afford to give him, so instead of coming back in five weeks (in the Remsen), they wanted to buy him some more time,” Trombetta said. “We were a little uncomfortable with the time frame for the Remsen.

“(The Nashua) was a crazy-fast performance. The first race was good, but the next was special.”

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