Corelli edges G2 Winner Pixelate in $100,000 Henry S. Clark

April 24, 2021

Xanthique Breaks Through with Stakes Win in $100,000 Dahlia

Completed Pass Wins $100,000 King T. Leatherbury

BALTIMORE – Augustin Stable’s Grade 1-placed Corelli, cutting back to the shortest distance of his North American career in his first race since mid-October, came flying down the center of the track to catch Grade 2-winning favorite Pixelate approaching the wire and get his nose down at the wire of Saturday’s $100,000 Henry S. Clark at Pimlico Race Course.

The 21st running of the Clark for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles was the second of three turf stakes on an 11-race Spring Stakes Spectacular program featuring six stakes worth $650,000 in purses. Headlining the card were the $125,000 Federico Tesio, a ‘Win and In’ qualifier for Triple Crown-nominated 3-year-olds to the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 15, and the $125,000 Weber City Miss, a ‘Win and In’ event for 3-year-old fillies to the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 14.

The $100,000 Dahlia for fillies and mares 3 and up, also at 1 1/16 miles, kicked off both the stakes action as well as the 2021 turf season in Maryland. The $100,000 King T. Leatherbury for 3-year-olds and up sprinting five furlongs on the grass closed the card.

Ridden by Jevian Toledo for trainer Jonathan Thomas, Corelli ($12) hadn’t raced since finishing seventh in a 1 1/8-mile allowance Oct. 17 at Keeneland. Prior to that he was fifth in the 1 ½-mile Sword Dancer (G1), third in the United Nations (G1) and fourth in the Tiller – the latter two at 1 3/8 miles – after arriving in the U.S. from England.

“I thought this year we’d just kind of reinvent him and let him fall off the pace and hope for a little bit of a stronger run race so he could finish up,” Thomas said. “I put blinkers on him last year and probably ran him too long, and he was just kind of idling at the end.

“We just thought we’d try something different. Honestly I thought he was going to come late and we were going to have to stretch him off of this, but he showed us a different dimension,” he added. “Really proud of how he ran.”

Ballagh Rocks was eager for the lead, breaking from outside all but one rival in the nine-horse field, going the opening quarter-mile in 23.73 seconds. Papal Law, sent off at 50-1, pressed the early pace before taking over after a half in 47.76, with 9-5 favorite Pixelate in fourth after moving off the rail for a clear run midway down the backstretch.

Pixelate forged a short lead once straightened for home but Corelli came with a steady run on the far outside after being set down for a drive by jockey Victor Carrasco. The two leaders matched strides inside the sixteenth pole before Corelli surged late, with Dreams of Tomorrow making a bold move to get up for third, 1 ¼ lengths back.

Unraced at 2, Corelli spent 2018 and 2019 racing in England for trainer John Gosden, winning once in six starts – none of them shorter than 1 ½ miles – and finishing second three times by a total of three-quarters of a length. Augustin’s George Strawbridge moved the colt to Thomas last year.

“He was trained by arguably the greatest trainer on the planet so we just took over a really sound, nice horse,” Thomas said. “Really the credit goes to Mr. Strawbridge. Sharing a horse like this with us is a great credit and we’re very fortunate to have him. I’m glad he got rewarded today.”

Xanthique Breaks Through with Stakes Win in $100,000 Dahlia

Thwarted by traffic and unlucky trips in her previous stakes attempts, VinLaur Racing Stables’ Xanthique got an ideal ride from jockey Feargal Lynch and nabbed Grade 3-placed favorite Crystal Cliffs on the wire for a nose victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Dahlia.

Shipped to Pimlico by Belmont Park-based trainer Tom Morley, on hand for the race, Xanthique ($14.20) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.92 over a firm course in a thrilling opener to the 2021 turf season in Maryland.

“There was no unlucky in that trip,” Morley said. “It was as good a ride as you’ll see around there. It was phenomenal.”

Making her sixth consecutive stakes start, Xanthique settled in mid-pack as 104-1 long shot Elegant de Domino outran Lagom for the early lead and they dueled through splits of 23.25 and 47.57 seconds with Vigilantes Way in the clear three wide in third and Crystal Cliffs saving ground inside in fourth.

Sheldon Russell and Crystal Cliffs was able to find a seam to take over the top spot at the top of the lane and Lynch followed on Xanthique, using the length of the stretch to wear down the favorite, racing for the first time since being beaten a head in the Regret (G3) last June. It was 2 ¼ lengths back to Vigilantes Way in third.

“She’s a nice filly. Tom’s done a great job. I followed Sheldon the whole way. She was the horse to beat. He got through and I followed him through and kept it simple,” Lynch said. “The turf course is beautiful. The guys have done a great job. The ground staff, they’re working hard here and Laurel and doing everything they can.”

Xanthique, by Into Mischief, now owns five wins from 18 career starts and nearly $300,000 in purse earnings. Her best stakes previous stakes finishes were fourths in the Marie Krantz Memorial Jan. 16 at Fair Grounds and One Dreamer last September at Kentucky Downs.

“We were a little concerned there might be a lack of pace in the race, but we were delighted to see those two fillies go on in front of us. Feargal just stalked the favorite the whole way around there and turning in made a brave run up the rail but she’s as game as a tiger, this horse. I never had any doubt that she put her head in the hole,” Morley said. “Huge credit to my team at Belmont. She’s been a real project filly, so to claim her three years ago and now turn her into a stakes winner is very special indeed.”

Completed Pass Wins $100,000 King T. Leatherbury

Robert Bone’s Completed Pass made his 7-year-old debut a memorable one when he gamely held off the 7-5 favorite and pacesetter Francatelli down the stretch to win the King T. Leatherbury, covering a firm five-furlong turf course in :56.52.

Saddled by leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez and ridden by Angel Cruz, Completed Pass, second in the Leatherbury in 2019 and a winner of the Laurel Dash last year, has won nine of 21 starts and more than $400,000. Cruz rated Completed Pass behind a :22.09 opening quarter set by Francatelli before drawing alongside him around the turn and putting a head in front entering the stretch. Despite a game performance by Francatelli, Completed Pass was never headed again.

For Cruz, the victory was a bit of redemption after being disqualified from first to second in the Tesio aboard Excellorator for bothering The Reds.

“I was a little upset because I didn’t think I bothered him enough, but the stewards so I did,” Cruz said. “So to come back and win this stake makes me feel better, makes me happy.”

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

Photos: Corelli and Completed Pass, (Maryland Jockey Club)

Have to give out Props to @jonathanstettin for yesterday winners sure did help me have a big day 👌🏻$

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