Projected tops 1-2 finish for Brown in BWI Turf Cup

Projected tops 1-2 finish for Brown in BWI Turf Cup
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club

Juddmonte Farms’ Projected topped a 1-2 finish by trainer Chad Brown’s runners in the $200,000 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup (G2) Saturday at Laurel Park.
The Commonwealth Turf Cup was renamed the Baltimore/Washington International this year by the Maryland Jockey Club and was the marquee race on the ‘Class on the Grass’ program at Laurel that featured eight turf stakes, three of them graded.
Projected, the 6-5 favorite, and jockey Nik Juarez finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of stablemate Catapult in the one-mile race on the Kelso Turf Course. They completed the distance in 1:34.25 and paid $4.40 to win. Catapult, owned by Woodford Racing, held off Grade 1 winner Ring Weekend by a nose for second.
Defending champion Blacktype and the speedy Special Ops scratched, leaving a field of six. Xmas Sky broke sharply and quickly raced out to a huge lead under Jevian Toledo. They led by six lengths after a quarter mile in 23.60 seconds, 10 lengths through a half-mile in 46.21 and were still seven in front after six furlongs in 1:10.33.
Juarez and Projected began to cut into the advantage as they approached the second turn. Projected made up a great deal of ground on the curve and had a head in front at the top of the stretch. Catapult and Feargal Lynch followed Projected’s move to the front but could not sustain the run with an eighth of a mile to run.
“Both horses ran a huge race,” said Brown’s assistant, Dermot Magner. “Both riders ran a very intelligent race. One had to win and one had to be second.”
Magner, who saddled Brown’s 1-2 finishers in the Commonweatlh Oaks (G2) earlier on the card, said the race developed as expected.
“We thought there would be a lot of speed so both riders broke and sat behind,” Magner said. “Nik rode a very clever race. The horse will get a lot of confidence from the win. Fast fractions would obviously suit him pretty well and he finished strong.”
It was the first graded stakes win for Projected. He raced in Europe for Andre Fabre and was sent Brown for the 2016 season, but never made it into a race last year. After three straight runner-up finishes in stakes this year, Brown ran him in blinkers in the Bernard Baruch (G2) on Sept. 4. The 5-year-old gelding finished fifth, beaten five lengths, and the blinkers were off at Laurel. Juarez bided his time and Projected delivered when asked.

“I just saw [Xmas Sky] go to the front and it looked to me that it was a really fast horse and really hard to take back, so I was just letting the speed go on and keep my trip patient,” Juarez said. “When it was time to run, Projected really just kicked on. They just told me to ride the way I’m comfortable and try to save ground and take the shortest way home, and we did just that.”

Source: Maryland Jockey Club

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