Curlin Colt Wins His Stakes Debut
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Juddmonte’s Elite Power made his stakes debut a winning one in Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Vosburgh, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and upward, at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
In victory, the 4-year-old Curlin chestnut secured a “Win And You’re In” berth to the six-furlong Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 5 at Keeneland.
“The timing was good, the distance was good, and it came up a good race for him,” said Elite Power’s Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. “Now, I’ll speak with [Juddmonte general manager] Garrett O’Rourke and see what he has to say. We get a free ticket into the Breeders’ Cup, so I’ll see what he wants to do.”
Elite Power broke alertly from post 4-of-5 under Jose Lezcano but allowed Jalen Journey to rush up the rail to take command through an opening quarter-mile in 23.66 seconds over the fast main track.
Elite Power took over heading into the turn as multiple graded-stakes winner Drafted loomed large to his outside with Eastern Bay cueing up behind that one through a half-mile in 47.68. The trio lined up across the track late in the turn, but Elite Power drew off under a hand ride to secure a 5 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:23.98. Eastern Bay completed the exacta by five lengths over Drafted with Southern District and Jalen Journey completing the order of finish.
Mott said he was pleased with the trip for Elite Power, who could benefit from a sharper pace when cutting back in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
“We didn’t make any big plans as far as where he was going to positioned, although we did note that there didn’t seem to be a lot of early pace,” Mott said. “He broke and he was closer than normal and that didn’t seem to bother him. He was fine where he was at. They went the first half in 47, but you go to a race like the Breeders’ Cup and they’ll go 44. He’s a good closer. If he gets a good, fast pace in front of him, he can close going six or seven [furlongs].”
Lezcano said he felt confident attending the pace.
“When he broke, I made a decision to let him be there and go for it,” Lezcano said. “He was very comfortable the whole way around. When I saw the number three [Eastern Bay], I showed the whip and [he went on].
“He did it pretty easy today,” Lezcano added. “When I showed the whip at the three-sixteenths, he really took off and went on to win the race very comfortable.”
Lightly raced due to shin issues earlier in his career, Elite Power finished off-the-board in a pair of sophomore starts. He has now racked up four consecutive wins this season, graduating on June 5 traveling seven furlongs at Churchill Downs ahead of a one-mile allowance score later that month at the same track. Elite Power entered from a rallying 3 1/2-length score in a six-furlong optional-claimer on September 3 at Saratoga Race Course.
“It gives you a lot of options that he can go from six [furlongs] to a mile throughout the course of the year,” Mott said. “All things being equal, he’ll probably race next year and have another race this year. I’ll see what Garrett wants to do. I’m sure he has some thoughts and ideas. It is nice to win a ‘Win And You’re In’ and all your fees are paid.”
The Maryland-bred Eastern Bay was making his first graded appearance since a runner-up effort in the 2020 Grade 3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Pimlico Race Course.
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano said the 8-year-old E Dubai gelding performed admirably.
“We were just second best, we couldn’t catch the winner. The winner was much the best in the race,” Castellano said. “My horse deserved second place and beat the rest of the horses pretty well. I’m very satisfied with the way he did it. Unfortunately, it was a short field and we didn’t see much speed. He’s a come-from-behind horse. I wish there could have been a little more pace in the race, but that’s what we’ve got to deal with. I think they’ll look at the big times in the future with the horse.”
Bred in Kentucky by Alpha Delta Stable, Elite Power is out of the multiple graded-stakes winning Vindication mare Broadway’s Alibi, who is a half-sister to multiple graded-stakes winner and stakes-producing Mid Atlantic sire Golden Lad. Elite Power banked $137,500 in victory, while improving his record to 7-4-0-1. He returned $3 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Belmont at the Big A with a nine-race card featuring the Grade 2, $250,000 Beldame in Race 3; the Grade 3, $150,000 Futurity in Race 6 offering a “Win And You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint; and the Grade 3, $150,000 Knickerbocker in Race 8. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.
By Keith McCalmont
Photo by Joe Labozzetta