FLORENCE, Ky., March 5, 2011 – Positive Response stamped himself a three-year-old to watch with a decisive win in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes (listed) Saturday at Turfway Park. Sent right to the front by jockey Julien Couton, Positive Response led the field going into the first turn and left them behind coming out of the second, drawing off to win by seven lengths over Taptowne. Another length and a half back in third was 93-1 longshot Son of Posse.
Taptowne sat three or four lengths off Positive Response's textbook pace and made his move in the stretch but couldn't get close. Son of Posse chased Positive Response throughout and tired in the stretch but held on for show. The winner clocked the quarters in :24.26, :48.29, 1:12.84, and 1:38.43 before finishing the 1 1/16-mile race over Polytrack in 1:45.13.
"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," said winning trainer William Morey, who also co-owns the gelding with Saul Gevertz, Roger Newman, and Ray Pagano.
"The only concern I had was flying him in here," continued Morey, who shipped Positive Response from California to Turfway on Tuesday. "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 3 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."
Sent off the 2-1 favorite, Positive Response returned $6, $3.60, and $3.
Completing the order of finish were Twinspired, Night Party, Admiral Perry, Adulare, R Fast Cat, and Blue Laser.
The Battaglia Memorial was Positive Response's third stakes win in his last four starts. He won the Gold Rush Stakes in December as a two-year-old and followed with a win in the California Derby in January. One start back he finished third, beaten just two lengths, in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby. He now has five wins and two thirds in eight starts for total earnings of $223,201 and graded earnings of $24,000.
By Pomeroy out of Lisa's Approval, by Farma Way, Positive Response was bred in Florida by Rosebrook Farms LLC and Moreau Bloodstock International Inc.