British trainer Dan Blacker bags first Grade 1 success

British trainer Dan Blacker claimed the first Grade 1 success of his career when Hit The Road took the Frank E Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on Saturday. 

Blacker, who previously worked for Jeremy Noseda in Britain, took out a trainer's licence in the United States in 2011 and set himself the target of winning a Grade 1 within a decade. 

Soon after Hit The Road helped Blacker achieve his goal, the trainer woke his mother up with a call in the middle of the night back home in Britain to give her the good news. 

"I call her after every win," Blacker told the BloodHorse. "She loves racing and it was a thrill to call her and keep her up with news like this.

"When I came here from England I said I wanted to give myself ten years to win a Grade 1 stakes. I did it in nine, but I don't want to make this about me.

"This is all about the horse. He's a true racehorse and we're fortunate to have him with such a great group of owners."

Hit The Road has proved a star for connections since making his debut in June 2019, with victories coming at Listed, Grade 3 and now Grade 1 level. 

The son of More Than Ready was disqualified in the 2019 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf before injury kept him off the track for 433 days prior to his recent resurgence.  

"He proved best today," Blacker added. "It's a credit to the owners. They've been so patient with this horse. They've given him time to get over a little issue he had last year and reach his potential.

"That was the key thing. To win these big races you have to give horses time to reach their potential."