Favored Beckford (GB) Flies Late to Win Opening Night William Walker

Apr 29, 2018 Gary Yunt

Newtown Anner Stud’s Beckford (GB) rallied from far back in the stretch to run down pace-setter Salmanazar by three-quarters of a length to win the fourth running of the $100,000 William Walker Presented by GE Appliances for 3-year-olds in front of a crowd of 22,023 on Opening Night presented by Budweiser to kick off the 38-day Spring Meet.

Trained by Brendan Walsh and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Beckford covered the five furlongs on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in :57.28.

A Group II winner in Ireland last year, Beckford was making his first start since finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI) behind Mendelssohn. Beckford is a son of Bated Breath (GB) out of the Danehill Dancer (IRE) mare Whirly Dancer (GB).

The victory was worth $60,140 and increased his earnings to $328,380 with a record of 7-3-2-0.

Sent off as the favorite in the field of eight, Beckford returned $5, $3.40 and $2.60. Salmanazar, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $4 and $2.60 with Masked finishing another 2 ½ lengths back in third under Shaun Bridgmohan and paying $2.60 to show.

It was another 2 ½ lengths back to I’m Corfu with Vitsal, Elusive Mischief, Pure Shot and Drena’s Star following in order.

Racing resumes Tuesday with a nine-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern).


Julien Leparoux (Jockey, Beckford, winner) – “He’s a very fast horse. I knew he needed a target in front of him so we sat off the pace in a good spot around the turn and he flew home. I think he is going to have a very bright future ahead of him. Brendan and his team did a very nice job with him.”

Brendan Walsh (Trainer, Beckford, winner) – “We thought he was a special horse when we first got him. Just by simply looking at his past performances he ran some very nice races as a 2-year-old. He does his best running with a target in front of him. We’ll probably regroup and see how he comes out of this race to determine a plan for him the rest of the year.”

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