The long-awaited comeback of Alpha turned out to be a reminder that Farhaan is also a pretty good horse in the barn of Kiaran McLaughlin.
two raced uncoupled Sunday in the $100,000 Alydar Stakes at 1 1/8
miles, and Shadwell Stable's Farhaan, a 5-year-old son of 2006 Belmont
Stakes winner Jazil, came from sixth and last to win going away by 3 ¼
lengths at odds of nearly 8-1.
owned by Godolphin Racing and dead-heat winner of the Grade 1 Travers
in 2012 and last year's Grade 1 Woodward, had a tough trip in the race
after six months off. Under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, Alpha
broke sharply from the inside post, was forced to squeeze through a
tight spot on the rail on the first turn and then set demanding
fractions before tiring to third, 8 ¼ lengths behind the winner.
won two stakes this past winter, including the Stymie on the inner dirt
course at Aqueduct, and hadn't raced since a fifth-place finish in
April in the Grade 3 Ben Ali over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland.
ran last time on synthetic and was back on the dirt, and the situation
worked out perfectly for him with Alpha running out and going too fast,"
McLaughlin said. "It set up for a closer and, luckily, it was our horse
that closed and ran that well. So, it was a great win for Shadwell and
for us. The brothers [Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum of Shadwell
and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum of Godolphin] competed against
each other, but they do that all the time.
Alpha's a barn favorite, and we would have loved to see him win, but
when it didn't work out, I'm glad we had a good backup plan with
Farhaan," he said.
Alpha, who had won four of five career starts at Saratoga with earnings of $1.245 million, has had it tough this summer.
After he finished fifth in the Grade 2 Mac
Diarmida in February at Gulfstream Park, the lone turf start of his
career, Alpha was freshened by McLaughlin and pointed toward the Spa.
loves this track," the trainer said. "We gave him a little time to
freshen up and be ready for up here, and it just didn't work out. The
first weekend, the 27th, we had an allowance race and it
didn't go. We would have run back in the Woodward [on August 30]. Now,
we had to try and get him started here because he loves the track. He
ran, finished third, and now we don't know what we're going to do."
McLaughlin said Alpha will race one or two more times this year and then go off to a stud career.