The chestnut gelding broke alertly, then let Great Love with Eric Camacho slip inside of him to head the field down the backstretch and around the far turn. Russell Road engaged Great Love at the top of the lane and they battled the length of the stretch before edging clear to win by a length and a quarter in 1:09.79. St John’s Gospel finished third.
“He just broke sharp. I could have gone to the lead if I wanted to. He settled and took a breather so I let him run how he wanted and he did the rest from there,” Dunkelberger said. “Eric (Camacho) pulled up and said ‘You better try to stay on that one’. We were really flying.”
Russell Road is trained by James W. Casey. He had raced exclusively at Charles Town, winning three restricted stakes, before taking his show on the road for the first time today.
“Today we had an opportunity to run against horses that had run at other tracks and he ran very well,” Casey said. “We are not going to rush him. We sent him to the farm for six weeks and he was only back in training for three weeks. I thought he might be a little short for this race but he met the challenge.”
Casey feels seven furlongs will be his star’s preferred distance. The win upped his career earnings to $232,530.