FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Brian Nadeau
Notes Writer/Media Relations
Rightandjust Streaks Towards Risen Star for Wilson
December Claim Pays Quick Dividends in January
New Orleans (January 21, 2021) – The sight of a 3-year-old in January going two turns and drawing off in deep stretch will get any trainer thinking big. Shane Wilson is no different, and while Rightandjust might not be taking the most conventional path the to the local February 13 Risen Star (G2), he put everyone on notice after his dominant win in a strong January 16 optional-claimer at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Rightandjust isn’t your typical blueblooded Fair Grounds 3-year-old. He wasn’t a precocious 2-year-old who came to the backstretch this winter with stakes plans already penciled in at 3. Though he may still well get there, the route to any potential glory is more the road less traveled.
Wilson and owner Wayne T. Davis claimed Rightandjust from trainer Louie Roussel III for $50,000 out of his gate-to-wire 5 ½-length maiden claiming win here December 18. The son of Awesome Again had run a better-than-it-looked fourth sprinting in a local MSW on debut in November, but looked like a new horse stretching out. Wilson, who teamed with Davis to win a pair of graded stakes with Mocito Rojo—a horse they claimed for $10,000—had a gameplan in mind when the meet opened and Rightandjust, a son of Awesome Again, fit the bill.
“We thought coming to Fair Grounds there would be some young, good quality horses that we could get to stretch out,” Wilson said. “Obviously the owner claimed Mocito Rojo awhile back for 10k to win a couple of graded races so we wanted to try and do that again with a couple of young horses. With Rightandjust being an Awesome Again and the mare by Tiznow, we thought he was a young horse with a good race and he finished up strong and should get better going two turns so we took a shot.”
Based on pedigree and what he’s displayed in his races so far, Wilson might be right. Rightandjust’s dam Pussyfoot was winless from just one start, but her half sibling Morning Line earned $1.2 million in his career and he’s been a productive stallion in his second career. He is also a half-brother to the promising 4-year-old Tapit colt Guided Missile.
Rightandjust broke through in a big way in his MCL win but showed no ill effects from such a strong race. It was readily apparent that Wilson had a rapidly improving soon-to-be 3-year-old on his hands, who still had plenty of untapped potential.
“We got him back the night I claimed him and he cleaned up everything I fed him and he licked the bowl,” Wilson said. “He was on his hind legs when we hand-walked him down the shedrow the next morning. It seemed like he did what he did easily and we came back and worked him and he worked great and then he had a bullet best-of-100 work. (Jockey Jack Gilligan was the one breezing him and he said ‘Shane, this horse can really run and he has a bunch of gears he doesn’t even know he’s got yet.’”
Rightandjust entered the optional-claimer as a bit of a rank outsider, at least judging by the 22-1 price on the toteboard. In a race that saw entries from trainers named Asmussen, Cox, Stidham, and Walsh, and owners like Godolphin, Brereton C. Jones, and Three Chimneys Farm, it was no real surprise that Wilson, Davis, and Rightandjust were overlooked. Facing much tougher competition, he went to the front again, set a measured pace, and streaked home an easy 3-length winner. An unknown outsider before the race, Rightandjust had clearly arrived, which wasn’t a complete shock to his trainer.
“We were pretty confident but it came up tough,” Wilson said. “A few were stretching out for the first time but we knew he could run 1 1/16 miles over the Fair Grounds. I was really surprised he was such a big price even though the other horses were coming from Churchill Downs and Keeneland and had great connections.”
Rightandjust looks like a vintage 3-year-old that is getting better by the day and his blend of speed and stamina can take a horse a long way during the first half of their sophomore year. Wilson is taking the ‘If it’s not broke don’t fix it’ route to the 1 1/8-mile Risen Star, which could prove problematic to some of his more precocious rivals.
“He looks like when he gets up there (on the lead) he goes to flicking his ears around and he’s comfortable with that pace,” Wilson said. “It looks like he had plenty in the tank (in his win) and he’ll go another 1/16th of a mile. As long as everything is good—and he came back great and he’s galloping strong—we’re going to breeze him 14 days out and then 7 days out and if everything is like it is now that (the Risen Star) is where we’re going to go.”
About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 13 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 149th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 108th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 26, 2020 through March 28, 2021. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.
Information set forth in this press release contains various “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”) provides certain “safe harbor” provisions for forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements made in this press release are made pursuant to the Act. The reader is cautioned that such forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time and/or management’s good faith belief with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in the statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statement was made. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking information to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” and similar words, although some forward-looking statements are expressed differently.
Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include the following: the effect of economic conditions on our consumers’ confidence and discretionary spending or our access to credit; additional or increased taxes and fees; public perceptions or lack of confidence in the integrity of our business; loss of key or highly skilled personnel; restrictions in our debt facilities limiting our flexibility to operate our business; general risks related to real estate ownership, including fluctuations in market values and environmental regulations; catastrophic events and system failures disrupting our operations, including the impact of natural and other disasters on our operations and our ability to obtain insurance recoveries in respect of such losses; inability to identify and complete acquisition, expansion or divestiture projects, on time, on budget or as planned; difficulty in integrating recent or future acquisitions into our operations; legalization of online real money gaming and sports wagering in the United States, and our ability to capitalize on and predict such legalization; the number of people attending and wagering on live horse races; inability to respond to rapid technological changes in a timely manner; inadvertent infringement of the intellectual property of others; inability to protect our own intellectual property rights; security breaches and other security risks related to our technology, personal information, source code and other proprietary information, including failure to comply with regulations and other legal obligations relating to receiving, processing, storing and using personal information; payment- related risks, such as chargebacks for fraudulent credit card use; compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or applicable money-laundering regulations; compliance with payment processing and payment transmission regulations; work stoppages and labor issues; difficulty in attracting a sufficient number of horses and trainers for full field horseraces; inability to negotiate agreements with industry constituents, including horsemen and other racetracks; personal injury litigation related to injuries occurring at our racetracks; the inability of our totalisator company, United Tote, to maintain its processes accurately, keep its technology current or maintain its significant customers; weather conditions affecting our ability to conduct live racing; increased competition in the horseracing business; changes in the regulatory environment of our racing operations; declining popularity in horseracing; seasonal fluctuations in our horseracing business due to geographic concentration of our operations; increased competition in our casino business; changes in regulatory environment of our casino business; the cost and possibility for delay, cost overruns and other uncertainties associated with the develop.m.ent and expansion of casinos; concentration and evolution of slot machine manufacturing and other technology conditions that could impose additional costs; impact of further legislation prohibiting tobacco smoking; geographic concentration of our casino business; changes in regulatory environment for our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; increase in competition in the advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; inability to retain current customers or attract new customers to our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; uncertainty and changes in the legal landscape relating to our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; and failure to comply with laws requiring us to block access to certain individuals could result in penalties or impairment in our ability to offer advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming.