CHESTER - As his trainer Kellyn Gorder said, Take It Like a Man "has won six races with six different jockeys at six different tracks." And the colt will try raising those totals to seven in each category in Tuesday's $85,000 Sophomore Sprint Championship at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort.
Take It Like a Man is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Sophomore Sprint field of nine. He has won five of his last six starts, the most recent being a 1-length triumph in the $400,000 Researcher Stakes at Charles Town on Sept. 21.
The Researcher victory was Take It Like a Man's first career stakes score.
FAVORED — Take It Like a Man is the morning line favorite for Mountaineer’s Sophomore Sprint.
-- Coady Photography
On April 17, he won for a $30,000 claiming tag at Keeneland. Take It Like a Man has ascended the ladder, so to speak, and at Mountaineer on Tuesday he'll have a chance to add the credential of "multiple stakes winner" to his list of accomplishments.
He will be ridden by Deshawn Parker, who has become the perennial leading jockey at the Hancock County track. Parker won last year's Sophomore Sprint aboard Captain Genius.
In 2012, Parker piloted another Gorder trainee, Bourbon Courage, to a second-place finish in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby. Over the years Parker has ridden 63 starters for Gorder with 25 wins.
Bred in Kentucky, Take It Like a Man is by the sire Run Away and Hide, who was undefeated in three starts during a brief racing career. He clocked a stakes-record time when winning the 2008 edition of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special, which was a 6 furlong event.
Backatem, the dam of Take It Like a Man, won the 8-furlong Three Ring Stakes at Calder at age 2. Speed at the top of the pedigree; middle distance credentials on the bottom; it's a proven formula to produce a sprinter who closes. And that's Take It Like a Man has become.
Take It Like a Man was twice sold at auction. He fetched a $20,000 price as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton pavilion in Lexington, Ky., and a $27,000 price in Florida as a 2-year-old.
His owners are Lynn and Lola Cash, a couple in the roofing business who are newcomers to the Thoroughbred world, and have recently purchased a 30-acre farm on Leestown Road in Woodford County, Ky.
"Take It Like a Man is one of the first three horses they bought," said Gorder. With $339,915 in purse earnings, the colt has already returned more than 12 times what the Cashes paid for him.
Gorder stables Take It Like a Man at Keeneland. "He trains best on the synthetic surface there," Gorder said, "but he races best on the dirt. He's a big colt, but a little on the narrow side - if you look at him sideways, he reminds you somewhat of a fish."
Besides Charles Town and Keeneland, Take It Like a Man has won at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Indiana Downs, Churchill Downs, and Ellis Park in western Kentucky. The Sophomore Sprint is a six-furlong event, and Take It Like a Man's resume includes six prior efforts at that distance, from which he's gained three wins and two placings.
"He can come through on the rail, and he can circle the field," said Gorder. "He's won numerous times on a fast track, and at Charles Town he won on a sloppy surface."
The 2014 live racing season at Mountaineer will run March 1 through Dec. 20. It will be the 64th year of racing. Mountaineer will offer 210 race cards, all but one of which will have a 7 p.m. first post. The exception will be the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby card, which have a 2 p.m. first post on Aug. 2.
Racing will occur five days a week, Saturdays through Wednesdays.
"We're eliminating our Friday cards and are adding Wednesday cards in their place," said Rose Mary Williams, director of racing at Mountaineer. "The change was made to increase our wagering handle. We believe that Wednesdays will provide us with a better position than Fridays in the simulcast market. Thursdays and Fridays will be our dark days in 2014. Mountaineer will also be closed on Thursdays in regards to training."
There will be no live racing on April 20 due to Easter. Nine races will be offered on each card from March through September. Cards will expand to 10 races beginning Oct. 1.