West Will Power puts away the field in the New Orleans Classic (Hodges Photography)
Fair Grounds Press Release
NEW ORLEANS— Tending to the pace throughout the $500,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) presented by Relyne GI by Hagyard, Gary and Mary West’s Kentucky homebred West Will Power stormed to the lead in the stretch, and put away the field to win by 4 3/4 lengths.
Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Flavien Prat, who also piloted Kingsbarns to the Louisiana Derby winner’s circle, West Will Power completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.95 on the “fast” main track at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
“He broke well, got us into a good position and he was traveling really well all the way around,” Prat said. “He really kicked home well when I asked him to make a move.”
From the rail, Treasury opened up on the lead and cruised through the opening calls in :23.55 and :47.30. West Will Power was never far behind. The 4-5 favorite Art Collector tracked in third along the rail, while the Mineshaft-winner Pioneer of Medina tracked three wide in fourth. Making a stout bid past Treasury at the three-furlong pole, West Will Power proceeded to draw off in the upper stretch, while Art Collector won the place battle over Mr. Wireless. From near the back, Rattle N Roll produced a lackluster late bid down the homestretch for fourth. Happy American, Pioneer of Medina, and Treasury rounded out the order of finish.
Art Collector, who upset the Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park last time out at odds of 15-1, was held up in the pocket, but even if he had shaken free earlier, West Will Power would have proved difficult to reel in.
“We’ve only had him the last 1 ½ years of his career and he’s been very good to us,” Cox said. “We give him time when he needs it. I’m glad the Wests (Gary and Mary) were here to enjoy it in person. It was a big performance. When he comes to run he’ll always give you a big number. Sometimes he needs some time. I thought he needed his last race (2nd in the Razorback at OP) and he rebounded well today.”
West Will Power rewarded his backers with payouts of $7.20, $3.30, and $2.40.
West Will Power is the 4-year-old son of Bernardini out of the Wild Event dam Wild Promises. He improved his overall mark to 15-6-7-0 with overall earnings of $1,086,730. He became the 18th millionaire trained by Cox.