On Saturday, Pat O Brien Stakes a prestigious G2 dirt race took place at Del Mar where nine horses clashed at the distance of 7 furlongs. The Pat O’Brien Stakes opened for three-year-old and older participants offered the purse of $200,000, with the top two finishers of the last year’s edition being the hottest victory candidates once again. Still, the progressive four-year-old Ginobili (54-10) caught both of them off guard. Because the race is a part of the “Win And You’re In” series; the winning bay colt earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.  

The duo of seven-year-olds C Z Rocket (2-1) and Flagstaff (33-10) were likely to fight for the win in a similar manner they did last year; still, the most recent forms hinted that a younger smart rival might actually prove better this time, which, in the end; was the case. The mentioned couple tried hard but couldn’t hold a candle to the emphatic winner Ginobili trained by Richard Baltas.

The Kentucky bred

The Kentucky bred son of Munnings has had some experience from the Grade races, though for more than a year; the gelding could be seen only in Allowance races where he wasn’t impressive in the slightest. However, Ginobili suggested that he has finally shaped into a finished article as last time out; he bagged an Allowance race by almost 10 lengths. Therefore, he was the runner expected to give the pair of the favourites the most trouble; yet Ginobili didn’t have to give all out to leave both C Z Rocket and Flagstaff behind. From the inside gate, he had a good start, stalked the leader from the second spot, and once he made a move to the front; he already looked like a winner. Drawing clear in the final stages, Ginobili triumphed by 1 and ¾ lengths in 1:22.36 as he achieved his first Grade success after the lovely ride of Drayden Van Dyck. 

None of the veterans was disappointing, though. Flagstaff was his usual self, and upon quickening from the fourth place he occupied, he strived to close on Ginobili. However; the younger colt was too good on that day, so Flagstaff tried to grab the second place at least, but C Z Rocket was flying on the outside; leaving his old rival behind. Still, he couldn’t pose a threat to the winner; too. Once again, C Z Rocket spent the race too far from the front to close the gap in time, and after the last year’s victory; he had to settle for a second place. Flagstaff was third as C Z Rocket beat him just by a head. The Baffert’s duo Eight Rings (78-10) – Classier (125-10) didn’t have a say in the Pat O’Brien Stakes and finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

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