(Full Mandate x Flambe’, by Fortunate Prospect)
- Trainer: Bill Mott
- Jockey: Jose Lezcano
- Owned by: Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable, Hammer, Jack T. and Barber, Gary
- Career Record: 29:9-5-3
- Earnings: $2,704,691
- 2013 Record: 7:2-0-2
- 2013 accomplishments: G1 winner at 10 furlongs (Jockey Club Gold Cup)
- Santa Anita record: 3:1-0-0
- Win and You’re In winner - Jockey Club Gold Cup
- TrueNicks rating: N/A
- Dosage Index: 3.00
- Highest Equibase Speed Figure of 2013: 123 (unchanged from last year)
- Won last prep [Jockey Club Gold Cup by 6 3/4 lengths]
- Aims to be the oldest horse to win the Classic at age 6
Summary: Occasionally down but never out, Ron the Greek flourished last year, truly coming into his own as an older horse transferred into the tutelage of Classic-winning trainer Bill Mott. This year however, “Ron Ron” was the victim of many a setback that some attributed to old age or poor overall form. Not to be taken lightly, Ron lit up the board in his last start, taking the 10-furlong Jockey Club Gold Cup— historically one of the most important preps for the Breeders’ Cup Classic— by a commanding 6 3/4 lengths in dazzling time.
Prep Schedule: 4th in last year’s Classic, Ron the Greek stomped the others flat in the sloppy-sealed Sunshine Millions Classic, taking the Florida-bred stake by 11 1/4 lengths. 6 weeks later, he attempted to win back-to-back Santa Anita Handicaps (I) but came up short to Game On Dude, running 4th behind some 9 1/4 lengths after racing wide throughout. He lost again next out to the Dude, both shipping to the Charles Town Classic (II), but this time came within a half length of Dude and a nose from Clubhouse Ride in a photo. He darted off next to defend his Stephen Foster (I) at Churchill but missed again, cutting into the inside too late to catch Fort Larned, placing 3rd by 10 1/4 lengths. Taking another 6 week break, Ron shipped out to Saratoga to run in the Whitney (I), but flattened while running an inside trip to finish 4th behind some 4 lengths away from Cross Traffic. Sentenced to mud in the Woodward (I), he again faltered with a rail trip to finish 4th beaten some 7 lengths. Returning to Belmont, he tracked closer to the pace and made a run on the rail successfully, winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup by 6 3/4 lengths.
Physique: Well-muscled and of sturdy stature, Ron the Greek has one of the nicest shoulders in the group and is the quintessential classic horse: there’s not feathery fine bone in his body, he’s made to go long and hard. He’s got a nice set of back legs for that pushing closing power, but I’m not sure how refined he currently is for that strategy coming into the Classic.
Pedigree: Sire Full Mandate is by classic superhorse sire A.P. Indy and out of a Deputy Minister daughter who won G1 races such as the Spinster and John L Morris Handicap at Saratoga. Clear Mandate is also the dam of recent Hopeful Stakes-winning juvenile Strong Mandate, so bonus points to her. On the bottom, Ron the Greek’s dam Flamebe’ is fairly ordinary with no other major progeny and traces back twice to Northern Dancer. Big picture: lots of Northern Dancer, Native Dancer, and Bold Ruler.
Running Style: Off-the-pace, may not be a deep closer anymore
Pros: His Jockey Club Gold Cup win announced that he is still that classy G1 winner he was last year under the right trip. While the runner-up in that race gave up ground, Ron the Greek was slightly more disadvantaged having to come between horses and ride the rail to shake clear. We already know he’s good with Santa Anita, having won the 10-furlong Santa Anita Handicap (I) there last year, and being a late mover in a Classic amped with speed.
Cons: Was the JCGC a fluke? The rail was on fire all day that day and supported early speed, which Ron flashed being closer up than usual that day.
Final Word: Always a tough horse to pinpoint form-wise, Ron looked great in easily (and happily) winning the JCGC last out over a classy group. He is rarely does worse than 4th and whether or not you’re a believer in his current G1-winning form, he’s a must-have in the exotics.