Cox: First Mission ‘Has the Potential To Become Our Best 3-Year-Old’

April 16, 2023

First Mission battles on for the win in the Lexington (G3) under Luis Saez (JennyPhoto/Past The Wire)

Keeneland Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— Godolphin’s First Mission is scheduled to return to trainer Brad Cox’s main string at Churchill Downs on Monday following his victory in Saturday’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3).

In giving Cox his third victory in the Stonestreet Lexington, First Mission set himself up for a possible start in the Preakness (G1) at Pimlico on May 20.

“He has the potential to become our best 3-year-old,” said Blake Cox, assistant to his father. “He has been training lights out in the morning, and he is so smooth.”

First Mission, who was making his stakes debut Saturday, had to overhaul longtime leader and stakes veteran Arabian Lion to win by a half-length after being in tight quarters in the stretch run.

“At the three-eighths pole, I thought the other horse (Arabian Lion) was getting away from him,” Blake Cox said. “To be able to do that in just his third start against more experienced horses, that was impressive.”

Cox’s other Stonestreet Lexington winners were Owendale in 2019 and Tawny Port last year.

“I think First Mission can be better than Tawny Port and Owendale,” Cox said. “I was 17 when Owendale won here, and I flew all over the country with him. He was a very cool horse.”

That “very cool horse” earned more than $1.5 million in his career in which he ran third in the Preakness, had three Grade 3 victories and was graded stakes-placed another seven times.

Finishing third in the Stonestreet Lexington was Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Disarm.

Disarm picked up 6 points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). The amount is enough to get him in the starting gate May 6 if his connections decide to enter. Disarm left for Churchill early Sunday.

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