Houyhnhnm Stable’s Great Attack surged past favored Bridgetown
in deep stretch to win the 18th running of the $150,350 Twin Spires Turf Sprint Presented
by GE Appliances (Grade III) by a three-quarters of a length, the first of six
stakes on the Kentucky Derby Day card.
Trained by Wesley Ward and
ridden by Joel Rosario, Great Attack had finished fourth in last year’s
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GII) here in his lone previous try over the Matt
Winn Turf Course.
Bridgetown, ridden by John
Velazquez, had spurted away from the field in upper stretch and maintained
a daylight margin inside the sixteenth pole, but could not hold off Great Attack.
Great Attack, a 5-year-old
Florida-bred son of Greatness out of the Storm Cat mare Cat Attack, covered the
five furlongs on a Matt Winn Turf Course labeled as “good” in :56.61.
The victory was worth $86,692 and
increased Great Attack’s earnings to $378,010 with a record of 17-6-4-2.
Great Attack returned $10.80, $4.60
and $3.60. Bridgetown returned $3.40 and $3 in finishing two lengths in front
of Cactus Son, who paid $8 to show under Garrett Gomez.
Great Mills was another 1 ¼ lengths back in fourth and was followed in
order by Spinning Move, Chamberlain Bridge, Stormy Going, Amanecer
de Oro, Santo Gato, Shabaab, Speight the Halo and City
SPIRES TURF SPRINT QUOTES
JOEL ROSARIO (Jockey, Great Attack,
first) – "He's a nice horse. He put in
a great race. He was really running. It makes me happy because I know we wore
down a really nice horse."
WESLEY WARD (Trainer, Great Attack,
first) – “He’s a very special sprinter – I
told Joel (Rosario) the instructions were to be ‘a cool sitter and a
go-getter,’ and that’s what he did, boy.
What happened in the Shakertown last
time out? “As horses get older and he’s
getting a little more settled in his mind, he’s raced that way in the past –
from behind – but you get caught up in these five-eighths sprints you can
over-analyze and get caught up in having your rider a little too close. Today I
thought, with Todd (Pletcher)’s horse being fresh and such a good horse, we
didn’t have anything to lose, we would just sit back there and make one big
run. That’s sort of how Joel likes to ride. Both of them made a perfect pair
and a perfect match.”
Next? “I don’t know, we’ll have to take a look.”
JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Jockey, Bridgetown,
second, beaten favorite) – “We got
away good, but we went too fast on soft turf and that hurt us in the end.”
KENNY SMITH (Trainer, Cactus Son,
third) – “He ran a super race. We wanted
to try and get him off the inside figuring it would be softer down there being
it was wet. Once he got out of there, he came on good. I’m real proud of him
vs. these horses.”
STEVE ASMUSSEN (Trainer, Great Mills, fourth): “He ran great but I don’t think he appreciated the soft
ground. I would have loved to have been able to run him over that hard course
yesterday, which is more to his liking.”