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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Excluded from Spiral, Crop Report Aims Lower

3/22/2013

Should Crop Report win Saturday’s $75,000 Team Valor International Rushaway Stakes, Team Valor president Barry Irwin could conceivably present the winner’s trophy to himself. But that was not the plan.

Team Valor and trainer Graham Motion won the Spiral each of the last two years with eventual Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Went the Day Well last year. The hope was that Crop Report would be their ticket for a “three-peat,” but insufficient earnings forced Crop Report into the Rushaway.

“This is the same spot we’ve been in the last two years with Animal Kingdom and Went the Day Well,” said Motion. “Both of them barely snuck in to the race.  I guess things caught up with us this year.”

In 2011, Motion also had Crimson China as a planned Spiral competitor, but a lack of requisite earnings forced that one into the Rushaway as well. Crimson China finished second in that race but failed to make a dent on the Kentucky Derby Trail afterward.

Crop Report broke his maiden in his second career start, a mile event at famed Newmarket in Great Britain. He was later shipped to Motion’s barn at Gulfstream Park. After numerous breezes on the turf, the Kentucky-bred son of Medaglia d’Oro finished a fast-closing third after hitting the gate at the start of a 1 1/16-miles grass allowance and trailing the field early. He'll wear blinkers for the first time in the Rushaway.

“He’s a very big, laid-back horse,” said the British-born Motion. “Not only did he break slowly from the gate last time, he also didn’t run away from there. You can get away with that at home, but not here. He’s got to get into the race more this time.  I’m not going to put a full-cup blinker on him, but I do think he will be sharper compared to his first race of the year. There’s just such a difference between a straight mile at Newmarket and a two-turn race here in America.”

Motion suggested that a top effort in the Rushaway could move his colt forward to the Grade I  Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.  Crop Report shipped from South Florida to Keeneland Thursday and will van to Turfway on race day.

Motion also will saddle Le Fascinator in the Fathead Bourbonette Oaks. Joel Rosario has the riding assignment for both Motion starters.

Edited Turfway release
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