Amoss wins right off the bat with Minnesota Ready in Colonel Power

Fair Grounds stakes recap by Kevin Kilroy (Hodges Photography photo)

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to trainer Neil Pessin,” Amoss said. “He really did all the work and this victory belongs to him.”

New Orleans, La (Feb. 17, 2024) – Minnesota Ready kicked powerfully down the stretch to win the 34th running of the $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes on Saturday’s Louisiana Derby Preview card at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Originally scheduled for the turf, the Colonel Power was run over a “sloppy (sealed)” track and Minnesota Ready completed the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.05, beating seven older foes by 3 1/2 lengths.

Recently purchased in the Lothenbach Dispersal of Horses of Racing Age sale by Richard Colton Jr., the 5-year-old by More Than Ready was making his first start for trainer Tom Amoss. Jockey Joel Rosario got the call.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to trainer Neil Pessin,” Amoss said. “He really did all the work and this victory belongs to him. I know how difficult it is to lose a horse and he was the first person to say congratulations to me after the race. We’re going to take good care of this horse and hopefully leave off right where Neil did. (Minnesota Ready) showed a tremendous kick today. I think whether it’s on turf or dirt he has a very bright future ahead for us.”

Minnesota Ready has raced at the Fair Grounds during the winter and throughout Kentucky the rest of the year. While the Colonel Power was his first stakes victory, he came into the race off four straight third-place finishes.

Just Might broke to the lead and held it through opening fractions of :22.21 and :45.22 as Pirate Rick and Silent Poet chased behind him. Settling to the rail, Minnesota Ready tracked the three forward foes through the far turn then swept five wide at the top of the stretch to launch a rally. Under the confident handling, Minnesota Ready soon closed the gap, kicking strongly past Just Might, who maintained second. Pirate Rick hung on for third. 

“Tom (Amoss) said just break well and let him come with one run,” Rosario said. “I was just a passenger and can’t thank Tom and his team for doing all the work to make it easy on me.”

Minnesota Ready returned $4.60, $2.60, $2.20. Just Might paid $3.20, $2.80. Pirate Rick rewarded $4.00.

With the Colonel Power in the win column, the previously stakes-placed 5-year-old now boasts a lifetime record of 22-4-2-5 with $358,312 for the efforts.

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.