POSITIVE RESPONSE (Pomeroy) left no doubt as to who was best in Saturday evening's $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial S. 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 (Tapit).
The winner clocked splits of :24 1/5, :48 1/5, 1:12 4/5 and 1:38 2/5 before finishing the 1 1/16-mile race over Polytrack in 1:45.
"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 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 March 26 Spiral S. [G3]), 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 (in the Battaglia) 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.
Son of Posse (Posse), the 93-1 longest shot in the race, was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third while 2-1 second choice Twinspired (Harlan's Holiday) checked in fourth. Completing the order of finish were Night Party (Rahy), Admiral Perry (First Samurai), Adulare (Flatter), R Fast Cat (Bluegrass Cat) and Blue Laser (Bluegrass Cat).
The Battaglia Memorial was Positive Response's third stakes win in his last four starts. He captured the Gold Rush S. in December as a two-year-old and followed with a win in the California Derby in January over the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields. The bay ran third, beaten just two lengths, when making his graded bow in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate, and now sports an 8-5-0-2 career mark to go along with total earnings of $223,201. (Photo Courtesy of Pat Lang Photography)
Out of the stakes-placed Lisa's Approval (Farma Way), Positive Response was bred in Florida by Rosebrook Farms LLC and Moreau Bloodstock International Inc. He's passed through the sales ring three times -- bringing $15,000 as a Keeneland January yearling, $35,000 as a Keeneland September yearling and most recently $21,000 as an OBS June two-year-old.