Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale has produced his share of outstanding turf horses through the years, and he has a developing 3-year-old turf specialist named Achilles, who improved to two for two in his brief career Thursday with a one-length victory as a 3-5 favorite in a mile optional claiming race on the Santa Anita turf course.
A son of Smart Strike out of a dam, Solvig, who was a graded stakes winner on the turf, Achilles cost $140,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale. Achilles won his debut race March 10 at a mile on the turf by a head, coming from last place in a field of seven. Drysdale thought his winning performance Thursday was easier under jockey Joe Talamo. Achilles was running second behind pacesetter War Politics before passing him in the stretch.
"He's still a little green," Drysdale said. "He got up to the other horses and wanted to wait around a little bit, but that will improve with racing."
The next race for Achilles remains to be seen, but Drysdale said, "I do think he's got a serious future."
And the future will be on turf.
"He's bred for the turf, he just ran well on the turf, so we'll keep him on the turf," he said.