Neat Nips Photo with a Nose in Transylvania Win

April 5, 2024

Neat (rail, #4) beats Cugino to the wire by a nose (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

Keeneland Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— Red, White and Blue Racing’s Neat got his nose on the wire just in time to edge Cugino to win the 36th running of the $397,263 Transylvania (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select for 3-year-olds.

Trained by Rob Atras and ridden by Rey Gutierrez, Neat completed the mile and sixteenth over a turf course labeled as good in 1:44.93. Neat provided Atras and Gutierrez with their initial Keeneland stakes victory.

Neat led the field of 12 into the first turn, but by the time the field reached the backstretch, Musical Act (IRE) had surged to the front with a three-wide move chased by Cugino. While those two battled it out on the front end through a half-mile in :48.78 and 6 furlongs in 1:13.53, Neat was receiving a ground-saving trip from Gutierrez.

Inside the sixteenth pole, Musical Act began to fade and Neat moved to his outside for a clear run and caught Cugino at the finish line.

A Keeneland sales graduate, Neat is a Kentucky-bred son of Constitution out of the More Than Ready mare Orabella. Now a winner of four of six starts, Neat bankrolled $226,300 with the victory to increase his earnings to $347,900.

Neat returned mutuels of $28.82, $14.90 and $11.14. Cugino, ridden by Javier Castellano, returned $7.64 and $5.78 and finished a half-length in front of Lagynos, who paid $17.02 to show under Cristian Torres.

It was another length back to Lord Bullingdon, who was followed in order by Musical Act, Can Group, Depiction, Guy Named Joe, First World War, Full Nelson, Oscar’s World and Tennessee.

Racing continues Saturday with an 11-race program beginning at 1 p.m. ET that is highlighted by the 100th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1). Four other graded stakes precede the Toyota Blue Grass, which is the afternoon’s 10th race with a 5:52 p.m. post time.

Keeneland will offer a Pick Six carryover of $66,548 and a Super High Five carryover of $11,321.

Quotes for the $400,000 Transylvania (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select

Rob Atras (winning trainer of Neat, who won by a nose): “He’s getting more mature, and he’s gotten better every start. He had beaten arguably some lesser competition and today was a tough test, and he really showed up today. Honestly, I just think (jockey) Reylu (Gutierrez) did a great job (having to back off the lead and then re-rally). He had a tough time going into the first turn with him and obviously causing some havoc on the backside. He got him settled down and relaxed and really finished strong.”

Rey Gutierrez. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)
Rey Gutierrez. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

Rey Gutierrez (winning rider): “He gets out of the gate pretty quickly, and the plan was to keep him forward. But going into the first turn, there was a bit of juggling going on. I really just wanted to settle behind the 1 (Oscar’s World) and he didn’t take the turn too well, so I wanted to take that position and was going to stay on the lead. Down the backside I saw the 8 (Musical Act-IRE) come up and really wanting it, so I settled behind him and gave my horse a breather. 

“Sometimes these 3-year-olds go through the holes and sometimes they don’t. From the three-eighths pole it was all the horse. It was really tight down there, but we waited as long as we could and when he saw that little bit of space, I mean, he certainly overcame me. It was all the horse.

“(Trainer) Rob (Atras) certainly had him ready to go. I think it’s been 10 weeks since he last ran, in the Houston Carnival (winning the Bob Bork Texas Turf Mile Stakes Jan. 27), so it shows the amazing horses that run at (Sam) Houston (Park). Rob really had him ready. He beat some top horses here today.”

On whether he thought he won the photo finish: “No. Javier Castellano (on runner up Cugino) was like, ‘Congrats,’ so that just shows you how Hall of Fame Javier is.”

Javier Castellano (rider of runner-up Cugino): “Good trip, just got beat. He gave me a good run. He gave a good fight all the way. He’s second best today.”

Cristian Torres (rider of third-place finisher Lagynos): “He was great. Honestly, I was in the position that I wanted. There was so much going on in the first part of the race. I was glad that I was kind of behind him, and my horse was relaxed. I didn’t want to be too close to everything that was going on in front. I was in the perfect spot, and when I asked him to make the run at the end, he responded really well and finished up nice. I think that he really loved the turf.”

@jonathanstettin anytime chief, you always giving back so its only right!!

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