Trainer Ken McPeek loved watching his 3-year-old colt, Rattle N Roll, win the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Sunday so much that he was already making plans for a return trip to the Sooner State.
“Our owner has been gracious enough to allow us to place this horse in good spots and I thought Oklahoma would be perfect for him,” said McPeek after receiving the Derby trophy. “We may have to find a race here for him as a 4-year-old.”
Mike Mackin of Louisville, Ky., owns Lucky Seven Stable in conjunction with his three brothers and sister and they own this 3-year-old colt. The stable is named for Mackin’s parents and five siblings. Hence, seven.
It was more than lucky on Sunday as Rattle N Roll proved his talent with a strong run down the stretch, digging deep to hold off the late charge of Steve Asmussen-trained King Ottoman. Rattle N Roll, as the 7-5 second favorite in the race, finished 1-1/2 lengths in front of King Ottoman (11-1) and the runner-up was 9-1/4 lengths ahead of the third-place finisher Best Actor. The even-money favorite, Best Actor, from trainer Brad Cox’s barn, ran third virtually the entire length of the race.
Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., has won two in a row on Rattle N Roll, a colt by Connect, out of the Johannesburg mare Jazz Tune, and three of his last four. Those victories include a trip to the winner’s circle in the $250,000 St. Louis Derby on Aug. 20 at Fan Duel Horse Racing, the old Fairmount Park racetrack and in the $200,000 American Derby at Churchill Downs, Mackin’s home track.
Rattle N Roll is a grandson Curlin, the two-time Horse of the Year in 2007-08.
“I’ve ridden him so many times, I’ve learned his running style,” said Hernandez. “I just let him do his thing and he does it. He’s a Grade 1 winner and a Derby winner.”
Hernandez said he wasn’t nervous at all as King Ottoman, winner of the Texas Derby at Lone Star Park in May, came rolling up on him and engaged a fight down the stretch.
“My horse threw his ears up; he heard him coming,” said Hernandez. “But, no, I wasn’t nervous. All I had to do was become a great passenger.”
It was a perfectly patient race from Hernandez as he let Rattle N Roll drop back to last in the field of eight down the backstretch in this 1-1/8th mile race over the fast main track. Red Knobs and Big Chopper set a swift pace up front in the early going, covering the first quarter-mile in :23.59, ;47.76 for the half-mile and then both began to fade after three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.11. At that point, Rattle N Roll took over, taking the lead at the top of the stretch. From that point on it was just a battle of hearts in a race to the wire in the final eighth of a mile. He hit the mile pole in 1:37.11 and won in a time of 1:49.50.
Rattle N Roll earned $240,000 for the victory and came oh so close to joining the millionaire club for Lucky Seven Stable. The money he earned from the $400,000 purse put him at $998,105 in earnings. He has started 13 times, winning five, running second once and third twice. He was bred in Kentucky by St. Simon Place. They purchased this colt for $210,000 in the Keeneland Yearling Sale in 2020.
“We thought he was beautiful ever since we saw him as a yearling,” McPeek said.
Rattle N Roll paid $4.80 to win, $3 to place and $2.10 to show.
Mackin has said the family wanted to own a sports franchise but that was too far out of reach so they got into the horse racing business and living in Louisville made it a perfect fit.
Photo by Dustin Orona Photography