Arzak Shakes off Mischief Magic in Shakertown

April 6, 2024

Arzak shakes off the challenge from Magic Mischief for the victory (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

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Keeneland Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— Sonata Stable’s Arzak returned to the scene of his biggest triumph and delivered an encore performance in posting a 1-length victory over Mischief Magic (IRE) in the Shakertown for 3-year-olds and up.

Trained by Michael Trombetta and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Arzak completed the 5½ furlongs on a turf course rated as good in 1:02.93.

Yes I Am Free rocketed to the lead from the outside post and led the field through an opening quarter-mile in :21.61 as Arzak tracked just behind the leading pack. On the far turn, Ortiz began closing in and swung into the stretch four wide for a clear run.

Arzak hit the front at the eighth pole and had enough left to hold off the late bid from Mischief Magic, winner of the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) here.

Winner of the Woodford (G2) here last fall, Arzak is a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Not This Time out of the Tapit mare Delightful Melody. Arzak became the fourth horse to win the Woodford in the fall and come back the next spring to win the Shakertown. The other horses to complete the Woodford-Shakertown double are Golden Pal (2021-2022), Silver Timber (2009-2010) and Morluc (2001-2002).

Arzak improved his record to 25-8-3-1 and boosted his earnings to $824,019 with Saturday’s $198,013 check.

Arzak returned $9.24, $4.56 and $3.86. Mischief Magic, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $4.40 and $3.08 and finished a head in front of Eamonn, who paid $7.48 to show under Paco Lopez.

It was another neck back to Our Shot, who was followed in order by Bad Beat Brian, Panther Island, Let My People Go, Yes I Am Free, Coppola, Beer Can Man, Sosua Summer and Front Run the Fed.

Racing continues Sunday with a nine-race program beginning at 1 p.m. ET that is highlighted by the $400,000 MiddleGround Capital Beaumont (G2) for 3-year-old fillies racing over the Beard Course of 7 furlongs, 184 feet. The MiddleGround Capital Beaumont is the afternoon’s eighth race with a 4:44 p.m. post time.

Quotes for the $350,000 Shakertown (G2)

Michael Trombetta (winning trainer of Arzak): “We gave him a little vacation after the Breeders’ Cup (when sixth in the Turf Sprint-G1). They sent him to Ocala (Florida) to winter. We brought him up to Fair Hill (Training Center in Maryland) pretty early, like in February, so we could get him started. 

“Fortunately, the weather cooperated, and we didn’t miss any works. He’s trained brilliantly all winter. His last three races are as good as anything he’s ever done. I was a little worried coming off the layoff, that he’d be ready, but he showed up and did what he needed to do. It’s hard to do (win two stakes at Keeneland, this one following the Woodford-G2 last fall), so I hope to be back here in the fall with him.”

Arzak and Irad Ortiz, Jr. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)
Arzak and Irad Ortiz, Jr. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

Irad Ortiz Jr. (winning rider): “He was beautiful (warming up). The trainer (Michael Trombetta) told me all about him, that he doesn’t like to be with the pony, so I kept him by himself. He behaved really good and warmed up really good. The race was all about him. It was perfect. He broke so sharp. After that I just bided my time riding behind the speed. I followed (jockey Edgard) Zayas’s horse, Coppola; he took me all the way to the quarter pole. I just bided my time until it was time to ask my horse and he responded really well. Thanks to Mike for the great job and for the owner (Marc Tacher of Sonata Stable) to give me the opportunity.”

Tyler Gaffalione (rider of runner-up Mischief Magic [IRE]): “Everything went to plan. The only thing was lack of pace in front of us, which was a little more honest, but my horse did everything right, ran his race and just was second best today. (The fractions were) a little bit slow for my liking, especially on a horse like that, but gotta play the hand that’s dealt.”

Paco Lopez (rider of third-place finisher Eamonn): “Pace was slow for these kinds of horses. If I had better post position, I think I could have won the race. He (Eamonn) has been training unbelievable.”

Arzak's after party. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)
Arzak’s after party (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

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