LEXINGTON, Ky. – Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister’s Mr Freeze surged to the front on the far turn and then held off a late bid from Aurelius Maximus by a neck to win the 63rd running of the $200,000 Hagyard Fayette (G2) for 3-year-olds and up.
Trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Javier Castellano, Mr Freeze covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:50.71. It is the third victory in the race for Romans, who previously won with
M B Sea in 2003 and Pick of the Litter in 2014.
“Today he ran like his old self. That was a rough trip for him. I wasn’t expecting him to be four wide on both turns and stalking horses, but he showed what a good horse he really is,” Romans said.
About Breeders’ Cup plans: “We’re going to have to talk about it. We talked about the Dirt Mile (G1) before, but we’ll have to talk about everything (Mile and Classic-G1). Everything’s on the table.”
Mo Mosa shot to the lead out of the gate with Aurelius Maximus in closest pursuit and Mr Freeze racing in the clear just off the pace through fractions of :24 and :49.06. Approaching the half-mile pole, Mr Freeze and Crafty Daddy joined the front two with Mr Freeze four wide.
On the far turn, Mr Freeze had assumed command and opened a daylight advantage that was more than enough to hold his rivals at bay in the run to the wire.
“I had a beautiful trip,” Castellano expressed. “I like the way everything unfolded in the right place for my horse. Usually my horse goes to the lead, but they got the jump on us in the first turn. I was in really good position outside. Turning for home, I was very encouraged that he would get it done. He fought all the way to the wire and never let the other horse pass him. I am very proud of him.”
A Keeneland sales graduate, Mr Freeze is a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of To Honor and Serve out of the Tabasco Cat mare Heavenly Cat. It is the fourth graded stakes victory for Mr Freeze, who added $120,000 to his bankroll and pushed his earnings to $1,561,950 with a record of 16-6-4-2.
Mr Freeze paid $5.20, $3.40 and $2.40. Aurelius Maximus, ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., returned $4.40 and $3.60 and finished three-quarters of a length in front of Title Ready, who paid $3.40 to show under Corey Lanerie.
It was another neck back to Coastal Defense, who was followed in order by Captivating Moon, Rated R Superstar, Crafty Daddy, Mirinaque (ARG) and Mo Mosa.
Click here for a replay of the race and the post-race interview with trainer Dale Romans.
Racing continues Sunday with a nine-race program beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET. Keeneland will offer a Pick 6 carryover of $34,998.45 and a Super High 5 carryover of $58,378.55.
Keeneland Entries for Sunday, October 11
Photo: Mr Freeze. Credit: Keeneland/Coady