War Like Goddess on to Breeders’ Cup

October 9, 2022

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— George Krikorian’s War Like Goddess, who was a dominant winner of Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet, will now set her sights on another matchup with male rivals in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf on November 5 at Keeneland.

A bay daughter of English Channel, War Like Goddess scored the second Grade 1 victory of her career with a smart ride by Jose Lezcano, tracking in third through the first mile and a quarter of the 1 1/2-mile turf marathon before unleashing her bid in the final turn and powering away to a 2 3/4-length score over determined pacesetter Bye Bye Melvin. The win, which earned a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure, came on the heels of a troubled second when attempting a title defense in the Grade 2 Flower Bowl at Saratoga Race Course where she stalked a pedestrian pace set by the victorious Virginia Joy and came up a neck shy after a late run in the stretch.

Trainer Bill Mott said it was satisfying to see War Like Goddess work out a clean trip in the Joe Hirsch with Lezcano in the irons for the first time.

“It was good. I was happy to see her get an opportunity to run her race,” said Mott. “I think it helped that there was a little pace in the race and they strung the field out a little bit and that they weren’t all jammed up going super slow. There was a legitimate pace horse in there.”

With the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf contested at 1 3/16-miles at Keeneland, War Like Goddess will instead set her sights on added distance against the boys in the 12-furlong Grade 1, $4 million Turf.

The Joe Hirsch win was the second graded score on the card for Mott and Lezcano, who teamed up three races earlier to capture the Grade 2 Vosburgh with Juddmonte’s Elite Power. The win garnered a 96 Beyer and awarded Elite Power with a berth into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 5 at Keeneland as part of the “Win And You’re In” series should his connections decide to test him in deeper waters.

The Vosburgh was the fourth consecutive win for Elite Power, adding to a nine-length maiden victory in June at Churchill Downs and two allowance level scores at the Louisville oval and Saratoga, respectively. His other start this year was a third-place finish in a May maiden in his first start back from a six-month layoff.

“He’s been great this year,” said Mott. “We had to give him a little time over the winter, but he’s got a near-perfect record this year.”

Mott also provided updates on his multiple Grade 1 winners Casa Creed and Channel Maker, who have both scored graded wins on the turf this year.

LRE Racing and JEH Racing’s Casa Creed, a son of Jimmy Creed, finished a close fifth behind the victorious Annapolis in the Grade 1 Coolmore Turf Mile yesterday at Keeneland after rallying from 5 1/2 lengths off the pace.

The 6-year-old bay has captured two Grade 1 events this year with a gutsy half-length score in the six-furlong Jaipur in June at Belmont Park and a 1 1/2-length victory in the one-mile Fourstardave Handicap in August at Saratoga.

With victories in the Jaipur and Fourstardave, Casa Creed has been awarded a berth into both the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and Breeders’ Cup Mile as part of the “Win And You’re In” series. Mott said he and Casa Creed’s owners are still determining which division he will contest.

As for Channel Maker, the veteran gelding is expected to make a start in the 12-furlong Grade 3 Sycamore on Friday at Keeneland. An 8-year-old son of English Channel, Channel Maker was last seen finishing a distant 10th in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer in August at the Spa. This year, he boasts a victory at the same course and distance as the Sycamore in the Grade 2 Elkhorn in April, an effort in which he set a stakes record with a final time of 2:27.10. He also posted a determined neck victory over Soldier Rising in the Grand Couturier in July at Belmont Park.

“He’ll run in the race at Keeneland this week, but I doubt he’ll go to the Breeders’ Cup,” said Mott.

A nine-time winner from 47 starts, the evergreen Channel Maker has collected in excess of $3.6 million in purses and six graded stakes victories. He received Eclipse Award honors in 2020 for Champion Turf Male, as well as the Sovereign Award for 2017 Champion 3-Year-Old Colt.

NYRA Press Office

Photo: War Like Goddess dons fancy attire after beating the boys in the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (Chelsea Durand)

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