On the morning after Cavorting added another impressive Saratoga victory to her resume in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Personal Ensign, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin lavished praise on the 4-year-old filly.
Stonestreet Stables' Cavorting rallied from last to first to win the 1 1/8-mile Personal Ensign by a half-length over favored Curalina, keeping her perfect Saratoga record intact. She won the Grade 2 Adirondack in 2014 and the Grade 1 Test and Grade 2 Prioress last year.
"She's a top filly. She's definitely one of the best fillies I've ever trained, if not the best filly," said McLaughlin, whose three career filly champions include Lahudood, the top turf female of 2007, and Questing, the top 3-year-old filly of 2012. "To win graded stakes at 2, 3 and 4 is quite impressive."
McLaughlin credited jockey Javier Castellano for his ride on the daughter of champion Bernardini. Castellano had been on her only once before, a win in the Grade 2 Ruffian May 14, and was able to settle her into a comfortable rhythm before swinging outside for the winning stretch drive.
"She broke on the lead and he grabbed her and got her back and saved ground around the first turn. It was an excellent ride," he said. "He helped us from the beginning taking her back in the Ruffian. It was a great race. They were very nice fillies, all of them. It was neat that they were all across the track. At one time, the tote board said 5-2 on four out of the five. It was a good group and we were happy to win."
The Personal Ensign was a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Grade 1 Distaff, earning Cavorting an all-fees-paid trip to Santa Anita in November. McLaughlin said the Grade 1 Beldame Invitational October 1 at Belmont Park and the Grade 1 Spinster October 9 at Keeneland are among the options to get there.
"We'll probably just go to the Breeders' Cup, we're not sure," he said. "The Beldame is there and the Spinster is there, but probably just to the Breeders' Cup."
McLaughlin continues to be mystified by Shadwell Stable's multiple Grade 2 winner Mohaymen, who finished 11th of 12 as the second choice in the Grade 1 Ketel One King's Bishop. The seven-furlong King's Bishop represented a cutback in distance for the 3-year-old Tapit colt, who has lost four straight starts after opening his career with five consecutive victories.
"I really feel bad for the horse because he's a top horse and one of my favorites. Since the Florida Derby, it just seems like it's gone not so well," he said. "He can't talk but I feel a burden on my shoulders as I really love the horse. He's a quality animal, great pedigree, great mind. He can't talk to me but he's always not looked like I want him to look, like something isn't quite 100 percent. All of our horses carry more weight than that."
Mohaymen will be sent to Shadwell's farm in Kentucky and likely get the rest of the year off before returning as a 4-year-old.
"Many times from 3 to 4 stopping on them, we've seen a different horse come back to us, so [Shadwell vice president/general manger] Rick Nichols asked me to send him home as soon as we could. I think that'll be huge, to just give him a break. We'll go over him good and then the break will help him a lot," McLaughlin said.
"He was doing very well considering that he doesn't carry a lot of weight or anything," he said. "It's just disappointing. I feel bad because he's going to be a top stallion probably one day and I've got to figure it out and get him over there and win a Grade 1 next year."
McLaughlin was also happy with the efforts of Tamarkuz, a multiple group stakes winner in Dubai who rallied to be second in the Grade 1 Priority Jets Forego under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, and Sentiero Italia, third in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa. Marking, second choice on the morning line in the Forego, was scratched.
Tamarkuz had finished no better than fourth in four North American starts, most recently ninth behind stablemate Frosted's record-setting performance in the Grade 1 Met Mile June 11 off an eight-month layoff.
"[Marking] was a little off yesterday morning. It's a little issue that we're trying to figure out, but he just wasn't right," he said. "[Tamarkuz] ran huge. That was great. He had two excuses first time out. One was Frosted and then being his first race back. He's been training great and Mike rode him very well. We're very happy with his performance. We'll probably look at the Kelso. I'll talk to Rick Nichols, but we were real happy with his race."
The Grade 2, $350,000 Kelso Handicap will be run October 8 at Belmont Park.
Source: NYRA Communications