Photo: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt's Cinco Charlie set a pressured pace and shook off a challenge by Silverhill in deep stretch to edge clear for a 1 3/4-length victory in Saturday's 113th running of the $108,100 Bashford Manor (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, Cinco Charlie ran six furlongs over a fast track in 1:10.36 to give the meet's leading trainer Steve Asmussen his fifth win in the stakes event that is annually the year's first open graded stakes race for 2-year-olds in North America. The victory came 24 minutes after Asmussen's stable star Untapable, the Longines Kentucky Oaks winner, won the $294,000 Mother Goose (GI) at Belmont Park by 9 1/4 lengths.
"That was a nice 20 minutes, huh?," quipped Asmussen's assistant Darren Fleming.
Cinco Charlie broke fastest of all from post four and led the field of six juveniles through fractions of :21.89, :45.69 and :57.63 with Texas invader Silverhill in close pursuit from his outside. Cinco Charlie proved best in the final yards and banked $67,022 to boost his earnings to $93,422 from two wins in two starts.
"He's pretty precocious, a nice 2-year-old and he makes my job easy," Bridgmohan said. "It was pretty straightforward. He broke smartly and was comfortable the whole way. When I asked him to pick it up he accelerated and did everything profession."
Cinco Charlie, the 6-5 favorite, paid $4.60, $3 and $2.20. Silverhill, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $6 and $3.20. Skyway was another four lengths back in third and paid $2.80.
Lucky Player and Governmentshutdown completed the order of finish. Draw Nigh, a distant trailer, was pulled up midway around the turn but walked off.
Prior to the Bashford Manor, Cinco Charlie created a favorable impression May 9 when he debuted in the first 2-year-old race of the meet as the 3-2 favorite against seven rivals and won by 2 ¾ lengths. The Indian Charlie colt, a $190,000 purchase at the OBS March sale, clocked 4 ½ furlongs in :51.65, which remains the fastest of six 4 ½-furlong races this meeting at Churchill Downs.
"It was pretty much unbelievable to go all the way today coming off of one race seven weeks ago," Bill Heiligbordt said. "It's pretty impressive to win back like that and get a horse to go from 4 ½ furlongs to six furlongs over a period of time, so he's got to be a nice horse."
The stakes triumph was the first for the Heiligbrodts following a brief hiatus from the ownership ranks that included the dispersal of their vast racing operation in the summer of 2011. Previously, the Texans were among the nation's top owners for more than two decades and had more than 150 horses in training. At the time of the dispersal they had owned all or part of 118 stakes-winners, including 45 graded stakes-winners.
"I found a good horse," Bill Heiligbrodt said. "That's why I'm back. I have just a couple of horses in training (five) but I'm looking for some more good horses. I'm just being careful and trying to buy a little better horse and not have as many."
Cinco Charlie gave the Heiligbrodts their third win in the Bashford Manor. They campaigned 2004 winner Lunarpal and co-owned 1994 Bashford Manor winner Hyroglyphic with Jack Hammer.
Cinco Charlie, named after 73-year-old Bill Heiligbrodt's boat, is a bay Kentucky-bred out of the Marquetry mare Ten Halos.
"I had Bwana Charlie who was probably one of the best racehorses I had and this horse is a three-quarter brother (note: his dam Ten Halos is a sister to Bwana Charlie). And he's a very pretty horse."
The Bashford Manor - one of Churchill Downs' most storied races - was the first of three consecutive stakes races run on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
In the subsequent $58,128 Kelly's Landing, Thomas Shank and Stan Young's 7-year-old gelding Good Lord wired eight rivals and ran seven furlongs in 1:22.45 to beat favored Pass the Dice by 2 3/4 lengths. Brian Hernandez Jr. rode the winner for 79-year-old trainer Forrest Kaelin.
BASHFORD MANOR QUOTES
SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN, jockey of CINCO CHARLIE (winner): "He's pretty precocious, a nice 2-year-old and he makes my job easy. It was pretty straightforward. He broke smartly and was comfortable the whole way. When I asked him to pick it up he accelerated and did everything profession."
BILL HEILIGBRODT, co-owner of CINCO CHARLIE (winner): "I found a good horse. That's why I'm back. I had Bwana Charlie who was probably one of the best racehorses I had and this horse is a three-quarter brother (note: his dam Ten Halos is a sister to Bwana Charlie). And he's a very pretty horse.
"I have just a couple of horses in training (five) but I'm looking for some more good horses. I'm just being careful and trying to buy a little better horse and not have as many.
"It was pretty much unbelievable to go all the way today coming off of one race seven weeks ago. It's pretty impressive to win back like that and get a horse to go from 4 1/2 furlongs to six furlongs over a period of time, so he's got to be a nice horse.
Q: Where did the name come from? "Cinco is the name of my boat."
CORINNE HEILIGBRODT, co-owner of CINCO CHARLIE (winner): "This was very fun and exciting. There's a lot of nostalgia here."
DARREN FLEMING, assistant trainer of CINCO CHARLIE (winner): "I'm glad he won. That was a nice 20 minutes, huh?" (Note: The Asmussen stable's Longines Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable won the Grade I, $294,000 Mother Goose at Belmont Park by 9 1/4 lengths 24 minutes prior to Cinco Charlie's Bashford Manor victory)
BRET CALHOUN, trainer of SILVERHILL (runner-up): "He ran great. I was very happy with him. I'm disappointed to lose, but I was very happy with his performance. The colt that beat him is a very nice colt, I think, and I thought we ran our race. When he loomed up to him on the turn I thought we had him, but the winner just had plenty left for us."
Q: What next with him? "I really haven't thought past today. We've got the colt races up at Saratoga and we could go in that direction, or take the lower road. I don't know what we're going to do yet. This was kind of a last-second decision to come up here. We were pointing toward a futurity down there (in Texas) and we decided to send him here - he didn't get here until Wednesday morning. It was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment deal. We thought he was a nice horse and he belonged up here, but it wasn't the original plan. So I don't know where he'll go from here, but obviously there's a lot of 2-year-old racing coming up in the next few months. I was very, very happy. I was disappointed that he didn't win, but I was very happy with the race."
COREY LANERIE, jockey on SILVERHILL (runner-up): "My horse ran great. He came out of the gate nice and was in a perfect position. I might have rode with too much confidence - I thought I had him any time I wanted him. But hat's off to Asmussen's team. They had the horse ready to run."
Q: At one point did you realize it was a battle and you didn't have him where you wanted him? "About the eighth pole - I was all-out and I wasn't getting the best of him. I was still hopin', though."
NORMAN CASSE, assistant trainer/son of MARK CASSE, trainer of SKYWAY (third): "I'm really proud of him. I thought he ran a good race. He'll be a much more effective horse when we go longer and he can be comfortable early on in the race."
Q: Any problems for him with that rail post? "He doesn't like being on the inside. We weren't thrilled with the post position, but we played the hand we were dealt."
STEWART ELLIOTT, jockey on SKYWAY (third): "I thought he run a good race. He got in a little bit tight in the beginning and got off to a little bit of an awkward start. But he got in good position and when he moved on the outside I thought we had a good chance, but the other two horses just kept running."