LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables and LNJ Foxwoods’ Olympiad battled back along the rail after being passed by Happy Saver to post a 2 1/2-length victory in the 19th running of the $500,000 Alysheba (GII) presented by Sentient Jet for 4-year-olds and up Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Junior Alvarado, Olympiad completed the mile and a sixteenth on a fast track in 1:41.60.
Weyburn set the pace with Olympiad tracking to his outside in second through fractions of :24.21 and :48.43. Going into the far turn, Olympiad began to close in on Weyburn with Happy Saver making a three-wide move that propelled him to the front at the head of the stretch.
Although he was in tight between Happy Saver and a fading Weyburn, Olympiad found himself in the clear at the eighth pole and pulled away for the victory.
In winning his fourth consecutive race and third graded stakes score, Olympiad improved his record to 9-6-1-1 and added $303,800 to his bankroll that now totals $962,240.
Olympiad is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Speightstown out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Tokyo Time.
Olympiad returned $3.80, $2.80 and $2.40. Happy Saver, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., returned $3.60 and $2.60 with Title Ready rallying for third another 1 1⁄2 lengths back under John Velazquez and paying $6 to show.
Weyburn finished fourth and was followed in order by Soy Tapatio, Fulsome and Max Player. ALYSHEBA QUOTES
Junior Alvarado (Jockey, Olympiad, winner) – “The more ground you give Olympiad the more room he has to open up. It takes him awhile to get into his nice rhythm but then after that it’s over. Happy Saver was trying to do his job, riding tough on me trying not to give me much room for my horse to finish up his run. I knew there was a horse in there but I tried to help a little bit, to keep my momentum going forward, but I like I said I wasn’t doing anything, it was the horse on the outside putting the pressure on me. Worse case I wasn’t getting taken down, it would be the horse on the outside.”
Bill Mott (Trainer, Olympiad, winner) – “We thought he was a nice horse since he was a 2-year-old. He missed a lot of time in his 3-year-old year unfortunately. The patience that we were allowed to have with him and waited until he got right paid off. He’s a really good horse and competing at a top level.
(On the stretch run) “It looked like Irad (Ortiz, Jr.) came in and shaved us a little bit, made it a little tight and the rider on the inside had to take up. I was a little concerned about it. I knew it wasn’t us and another horse caused us to put pressure on the inside horse.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. (Jockey, Happy Saver, second) – “Can’t complain, just got beat. He was the second best today. He’s getting there, and is showing improvement.”
John Velazquez (Jockey, Title Ready, third) – “It worked out perfectly for me, I followed the horse who finished second. My horse came with a good run, but it wasn’t enough today.”
Churchill Downs Press Office
Photo: Olympiad (Coady Photography)