By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile
Positive Response broke well from post 6, took the lead entering the first turn and improved from there to win the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes by a commanding margin.
Having shipped in from Northern California with an impressive resume, the William Morey trainee was sent off as the 2-1 favorite by the Saturday night crowd in Florence. He won in hand under Julien Couton.
After settng fractions of :24.26, :48.29 and 1:12.84, Positive Response was being hounded by longshots Son of Posse and Night Party into upper stretch. But once they fully turned for home, Positive Response drew off to prevail over Taptowne, who had passed tired horses, by seven lengths with Couton standing in the stirrups. The winner was timed in 1:45.13.
Son of Posse finished third, another 1 1/2 length back, followed by Twinspired, Night Party, Admiral Perry, Adulare, R Fast Cat and Blue Laser in the field of nine.
Positive Response was one of two notable shippers to come in for the Battaglia. The other, Blue Laser, came up from Florida after a series of works at Palm Meadows and a final one at Ocala Training Center. He was second from last in the backstretch and showed little thereafter. Twinspired, the WEBN Stakes winner, ran near the rear early and steadily moved up until he slipped into fourth late in the race.
Positive Response most recently made a belated late run to finish third in the Grade III El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. In his prior start, he won the California Derby at the same track on its synthetic surface. All five of his 2010 starts were also on synthetic. He won his final start of 2010, the Gold Rush at Golden Gate, in the same style he used in the Battaglia--on the front end.
A son of Pomeroy, Positive Response is out of Lisa's Approval, by Farma Way. He was bred in Florida by Rosebrook Farms LLC & Moreau Bloodstock International, Inc. and is owned by Morey, Saul Gevertz, Roger Newman and Ray Pagano.
A gelding, Positive Response has an extensive though modest sale history. He went for $15,000 at the Keeneland January 2009 sale, $35,000 at Keeneland September 2009 and $21,000 at the 2010 OBS June 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age sale.
Winning trainer William Morey: "Julien said there was other speed in here, but I thought there wasn’t classy speed like my horse, so I told him to just go. The only concern I had was flying him in here. But once I saw how he was acting and training here, I didn’t think these horses had a chance with him. Now, the next group (in the Grade III Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes), they’ll be a lot tougher. We came here intending to run two races: this one and either the Spiral or the Rushaway. Obviously with his performance tonight, we’d probably lean toward the Spiral. I think we’ll probably take a shot at it. I have to see how the horse is, that’s the main thing."