Churchill Downs Stakes, Derby City Distaff & Turf Classic Review

There is always a danger of the other G1s on Kentucky Derby day being a little overshadowed by the main event, but class shone through nevertheless at Churchill Downs on Saturday thanks to a battling performance from Santin in the Turf Classic, a dazzling display from the prolific Jackie’s Warrior in the Churchill Downs Stakes, and a thrilling last-gasp success for Obligatory in the Derby City Distaff.

Turf Classic Stakes – Grade 1

Santin shows his class

Inner resolve – helped a little by the external use of blinkers – drove Santin to a career-best in the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

Almost as soon as he’d put away the front-running Tribhuvan, who had towed the field through slowish fractions, Santin was faced with the challenge of Mira Mission on his outside. That rival put his head in front but Santin had no quit in him and regained the lead inside the final sixteenth, the 7-1 fourth-choice toughing it out to win by a neck in 1:49 and four-fifths, with the favourite Adhamo coming along late for third, six lengths back.

“The blinkers made a difference,” said jockey Tyler Gaffalione. “He’s one of those horses you can never get to the bottom of. He fought it out well today.”

This victory made it three-for-six lifetime for Santin, as the Brendan Walsh-trained four-year-old made his stakes breakthrough at the highest level.

Churchill Downs Stakes – Grade 1

Warrior slays the opposition

It was business as usual for the brilliant Jackie’s Warrior, who ran his rivals out of town in the Churchill Downs to claim the fourth G1 of his career.

On a day that ended in crushing disappointment for trainer Steve Asmussen as Epicenter was foiled in the Derby, Jackie’s Warrior was a ray of sunshine. The even-money favourite broke on top and never looked in danger before drawing off to beat Reinvestment Risk by four lengths, with Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Aloha West a length further back in third. The clock was the only thing that could keep up with the winner, who finished in a tick under 1:22.

“He’s an amazing horse – the speed that he is able to give you,” said rider Joel Rosario. “He is so strong, to get out of the gate like a quarter horse and to keep going with that speed.”

All roads will lead back to the Breeders’ Cup for Jackie’s Warrior, who has disappointed on both his starts at the world championships but appears a stronger, more mature horse this year.

Derby City Distaff Stakes – Grade 1

Obligatory stars in late show

In one of the hottest contests of the whole weekend, Obligatory lit the afterburners in the stretch to claim the first G1 of her career in the Derby City Distaff.

The picturesque grey filly always does her running late and had plenty of that to do here, sitting last of the seven runners under Jose Ortiz with a quarter-mile to run as the front-running favourite Just One Time set sail for home. Then Obligatory came running hard down the centre of the track, nailing Four Graces with a few strides to spare to score by three-quarters of a length, with the tiring Just One Time dropping away to be third, two and a half lengths away. The stopwatch showed 1:22 and one-fifth.


Obligatory came from 14 lengths back to win the G1 Derby City Distaff #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sports

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“She loves the stretch run here,” said trainer Bill Mott of the filly who is now three-for-three under the twin spires. “She just keeps coming. I was impressed, and I’m very seldom impressed.”

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