Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
had been nearly 13 months since trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had sent out a
2-year-old debut winner on the dirt, but Fort
Hughes’ impressive score on Sunday at Belmont Park made it worth the wait.
the victory, Fort Hughes joins the New York
watch, which profiles up-and-comers that have recently cleared the maiden ranks
at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga.
His page is located at http://www.nyra.com/nywatch/FortHughes.html.
a Darley Stable homebred, quickly seized the lead from post 1 and was pressed
by Rift through fractions of 22.34 and 45.24. Jockey Alex Solis flashed the
whip at Fort Hughes in the stretch, and that’s all
the encouragement the 7-1 shot needed to pull away to a 5 ½-length victory. The
final time for 5 ½ furlongs was 1:02.98, 0.72 seconds off the track record set
by Mike’s Classic, a 5-year-old, in 2004.
Darley had high expectations for Fort
Hughes from the
beginning, McLaughlin admitted he didn’t expect such a strong performance from
the chestnut colt.
didn’t show brilliant speed in the morning and we didn’t love him because he
hadn’t worked lights out,” said McLaughlin. “We train a lot of them on the
Greentree Polytrack and it can be hard to get a reading on them first time out.
We are happy and surprised that he ran so well. I mean, that was a serious
race! I don’t know what we do from here, but we are happy he won so
becomes the 11th winner for his freshman sire Henny Hughes, whom
McLaughlin trained for Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed al Maktoum’s Zabeel Racing
International. During his racing career Henny Hughes won the Tremont and Grade
2 Saratoga Special as a juvenile and the following year added victories in the Grade
3 Jersey Shore, Grade 1 King’s Bishop, and Grade 1 Vosburgh.
are a lot of similarities,” said McLaughlin when asked to compare Fort Hughes
to his sire. “He looks look like him, and he seems to have speed like him, too.
Henny Hughes was fun to be around and we’re happy this one won because we
thought he’d have more winners by now. But if they’re this good, that’s fine.”
is the second foal and first winner out of Forty Greeta, who was named Champion
Two-Year-Old Filly in Argentina
after opening her career with four consecutive victories, including a
four-length triumph in the Group 1 Estrellas Juvenile Fillies, that country’s
equivalent of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.