Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ria Antonia's owner sees filly as more than a Preakness long shot

Ria Antonia, a 17-hand-tall, dark brown beauty by Beer Baroness and Rockport Harbor, gallops in the rain under exercise rider Maurice Sanchez on Friday as she prepares to take on the boys.

Associated Press

Ria Antonia, a 17-hand-tall, dark brown beauty by Beer Baroness and Rockport Harbor, gallops in the rain under exercise rider Maurice Sanchez on Friday as she prepares to take on the boys.

Ron Paolucci believes you're entitled to your opinion, but he has plenty of ways to refute the overwhelming sentiment that his 30-1 filly, Ria Antonia, will be overmatched running with the colts in today's Preakness Stakes.

The horse's co-owner will point to the race sheet, which says his horse is the second-highest earner of the Preakness entrants behind Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome, thanks to a November win at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

He'll boast that he and his filly don't mind their long odds, because neither horse nor owner cares much about respect.

But coming off a sixth place in the Kentucky Oaks, and with just one finish in the money since the Breeders' Cup on Ria Antonia's resume, Paolucci must contend with a racing public that believes his $30,000 entrance fee is throwing good money after bad.

At Wednesday's draw, he was defiant when asked if his bid for Ria Antonia to become the sixth filly to win the Preakness in 54 tries is misguided. "Is there any other Grade 1 Stakes-winning horses in here besides California Chrome?" asked Paolucci, who co-owns the horse with Christopher Dunn. "Does she belong? I mean, do the rest of them belong? She absolutely belongs. Absolutely."

Trainer Tom Amoss, who began working with the horse after its Oaks run under Bob Baffert, said Paolucci's enthusiasm is typical: "Ron is no different than a lot of owners, in that they're very proud of their horse, no different than a parent would be proud of their child. He has every right to be. Ria won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. In that same vein, he wants everyone else to see what he sees in her. … Quite frankly, she's a nice little filly."

And what if he's right?

"That's the beauty of horse racing," Amoss said. "That's the beauty of sports. To bring it a little closer to home, I believe it was Joe Namath back in 1969 who predicted the defeat of the Baltimore Colts, much to everyone's dismay, and that's the way (it happened). Maybe Ron is the modern-day Joe Namath."

The race's longest shot, Ria Antonia's entrance is the product of Paolucci's ambition.

He began dreaming of beating the boys after the Breeders' Cup win, when at 32-1, she was bumped down the stretch by She's a Tiger. An official review disqualified She's a Tiger, and Ria Antonia was placed first. He said the colts typically run fast early and slow late, while fillies do the opposite. Paolucci said the colts' races are more suited to Ria Antonia's steady running style.

"An objective analysis of her chances to win the Preakness would say she has a substantially less chance to win the Preakness than any other horse in the race," NBC Sports analyst Randy Moss said. "She has never run a race yet in her career that is fast enough to even approach hitting the board in the Preakness."

Moss said many owners would have instead run Ria Antonia in Friday's Black Eyed Susan, an all-filly race like the Oaks. Untapable won the Oaks in a near-record time, and many thought she would be the filly to enter the Preakness.

"Most handicappers believe Ria Antonia has absolutely no chance to win the Preakness," Moss said. "But having said that, five years ago, the same handicappers would have told you Mine That Bird had no chance to win the Kentucky Derby. That's why people that have good horses in this business continue to dream, and take what on paper might look like a pie-in-the-sky long shot."

.fast facts


What: 139th running of the second of the Triple Crown races

When: Today, 12th race, post time 6:18 p.m.

Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore

TV: 1 p.m., NBCSN; 4:30 p.m., Ch. 8

Weather: Partly cloudy, high 70

The field

Post position, horse's name, jockey's name and odds:

1.Dynamic ImpactMiguel Menna 12-1

2.General a RodJavier Castellano 15-1

3.California ChromeVictor Espinoza 3-5

4.Ring WeekendAlan Garcia 20-1

5.BayernRosie Napravnik 10-1

6.Ria AntoniaCalvin Borel 30-1

7.Kid CruzJulian Pimentel 20-1

8.Social InclusionLuis Contreras 5-1

9.Pablo Del MonteJeffrey Sanchez 20-1

10.Ride On CurlinJoel Rosario 10-1

Trainers (by post position): 1, Mark Casse. 2, Mike Maker. 3, Art Sherman. 4, Graham Motion. 5, Bob Baffert. 6, Tom Amoss. 7, Linda Rice. 8, Manny Azpurua. 9, Wesley Ward. 10, William Gowan.

Owners (by post position): 1, St. Elias Stable. 2, Starlight Racing & Skychai Racing, LLC. 3, Steve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin. 4, Loooch Racing Stable. 5, John Oxley. 6, Kaleem Shah, Inc. 7, Black Swan Stable & Vina Del Mar. 8, Rontos Racing Stable Corp. 9, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith, Michael B. Tabor, Wesley A. Ward. 10, Daniel J. Dougherty.

Weights: 126 each. Distance: 13/16 miles. Purse: $1 million. First place: $600,000. Second place: $200,000. Third place: $110,000. Fourth place: $60,000.

Ria Antonia's owner sees filly as more than a Preakness long shot 05/16/14 [Last modified: Friday, May 16, 2014 10:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.