Godolphin's 4-year-old colt Proxy, who had been under consideration for Monday's Grade 1, $400,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, instead will remain in the Midwest and target the $200,000 Blame Stakes at Churchill Downs a week from Saturday.
The well-bred son of Tapit out of multiple Grade 1 winner Panty Raid has been knocking on the door of a graded-stakes win this year. Trainer Michael Stidham told Horse Racing Nation Wednesday that he hopes to use the 1 1/8-mile Blame as a springboard to the $750,000 Stephen Foster (G2) going the same distance on July 2.
Proxy has banked $161,650 this year with a record of 1-1-1 in three starts. In his comeback in February at Fair Grounds he dismissed allowance foes. Proxy then was beaten two lengths by Olympiad when second in the New Orleans Classic (G2), followed by a third behind winner Scalding and Dynamic One in the April 23 Ben Ali (G3) at Keeneland.
Pixelate, a 5-year-old millionaire and full horse owned and bred by Godolphin, had his second work back after a nearly five-month layoff Wednesday at Fair Hill. Breezing over the all-weather, Pixelate completed four furlongs in 48.8 seconds.
Last week, the son of City Zip returned with an easy three-furlong move. He is slated to try to defend his title in the $1 million Mint Millions (G3) at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 3 with at least one prep in between
"We'll just be shopping around with him for good spots to compete," Stidham said.
Through three seasons of racing, Pixelate has compiled a record of 23: 6-8-4 with earnings of $1,130,930. After his win in last year's Mint Millions, he was off the board in the Keeneland Turf Mile (G1) and then second in a pair of minor stakes at Fair Grounds.
Stidham lost his top older horse, 2021 Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Mystic Guide, last month to retirement. The 5-year-old horse by Ghostzapper had been training for a return, but a soft-tissue injury scrapped the prospective comeback.
Mystic Guide will take up stallion duties in 2023 at Godolphin's Jonabell Farm in central Kentucky.