Owner Mike Repole visited Stay
Thirsty at trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn Sunday morning,
compelled to be with his 4-year-old colt after a head-bobbing defeat at the
finish line by Flat Out in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club
Gold Cup Invitational.
After making the pace the entire way in the 1 ¼-mile race, and
repelling numerous challengers, Stay Thirsty was caught in the final strides by
Flat Out, who won in a time of 2:01.44.
“I watched the race 47 times hoping that Stay Thirsty would win
one of them,” Repole said. “But he lost every one.”
Repole also finished second on the “Super Saturday” card
with his 7-year-old Caixa Eletronica,
who rallied from last to fall 1 ¼ lengths short of winner The Lumber Guy in the
Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh Invitational.
“Caixa ran a 107 Beyer [Speed Figure] and Stay Thirsty ran a 109
Beyer. Fantastic,” Repole said. “And we came in second both races.
I would say it’s equivalent to bowling 295 in two games and losing to a
guy who bowled 298 and 300.”
Stay Thirsty scored victories last year as a 3-year-old in the Grade 2
Jim Dandy and Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga Race Course; he lost the Belmont
Stakes by three-quarters of a length to Ruler On Ice and now the Jockey Club
Gold Cup by a head. Reversing those two narrow decisions could have greatly
enhanced people’s opinion of Stay Thirsty, Repole said. Still, he said,
the colt’s performance Saturday definitively stamped his high quality.
“As far as Stay Thirsty, I’ve had a lot of luck in this
game, and I’m so appreciative, but in racing, that was obviously the most
disappointing finish I’ve ever had, and more about the horse than me. For
this horse, it’s always kind of been, ‘He’s a good horse.
He’s a great horse. He’s not that good.’ But I think
yesterday, in defeat, I think that second was more impressive than his Travers
Grade 1 win, and he probably enhanced his reputation off the loss more than he
did winning the Travers. So, it’s obviously a tough second for me.
“Yesterday, he did all the dirty work,” Repole added.
“He had to fight off Ruler On Ice; he had to fight off San
Pablo; he had to fight off Fort Larned.
At the end, he gave it all and couldn’t beat that fourth one, Flat Out.
Flat Out is a deserving winner, but I think Stay Thirsty ran the best race
Repole, who said he picks the races for his horses, said he is unsure
whether Stay Thirsty will go on to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic
on November 3 at Santa Anita or be retired to stand as a stallion.
“He’s going to tell us whether he wants to go to the
Classic,” Repole said. “This, quite possibly, could have been his
last race. I have no problem with it. He’ll probably have a work two
Sundays from now, and he’ll tell us.
“If you have a stallion farm in Kentucky, you’re interested in Stay
Thirsty. Great pedigree, great conformation, and great ability. He checks all
the boxes. So, there will be stallion plans sometime this week.”
As for Caixa Eletronica, who has had a strong year from six furlongs to
the $1 million, 1 1/8-mile Charles Town Classic, a trip to the Breeders’
Cup is a possibility. The son of Arromanches would have to be supplemented for
“If he goes to the Breeders’ Cup, we’re thinking
either the six-furlong Sprint, or a mile and three-quarters [in the Marathon]. We haven’t decided yet,” Repole