Conquest Tsunami, a multiple stakes winner on synthetic surfaces, showed a fondness for Churchill Downs’ dirt with a 2 ¾-length, front-running victory over Nun the Less in Sunday’s second running of the $55,221 Street Sense, one of two overnight stakes on opening day of the track’s 26-day Fall Meet.
The Street Sense, named in honor of the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner, was the highlight of “Stars of Tomorrow I,” a 10-race program entirely devoted to 2-year-olds that have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Longines Kentucky Oaks. The open race for 2-year-olds shared top billing with the Rags to Riches for fillies, which was won by Gary and Mary West’s West Coast Belle.
Conquest Tsunami, owned by Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell’s Conquest Stables LLC, ran one mile over a fast main track in 1:37.00 to defeat six rivals. Shaun Bridgmohan rode the winner for trainer Mark Casse – the same due that teamed to win last year’s inaugural running with Coastline.
Breaking from post six, Conquest Tsunami set the pace through measured fractions of :23.65, :47.75 and 1:12.44 and easily repelled all challengers. He opened up a three-length lead at the top of the stretch and drew clear for the win.
“I had a perfect trip,” Bridgmohan said. “It was just what we had hoped for and he delivered. I thought going into it that my horse was the class of this race and he proved it today.”
A bay Stormy Atlantic colt out of the El Corredor mare Classic Neel, Conquest Tsunami paid $5.20, $3 and $2.40 as the 8-5 favorite. Nun the Less, the 5-2 second choice who chased the pace and was all out to be the runner-up, returned $3.20 and $2.40. Far Right rallied well to finish a head back for the show and paid $2.60.
Handy Candy, Risetotheoccasion, Instant Replay and Jump for Bucks completed the order of finish.
The $31,656 winner’s share of the purse increased Conquest Tsunami’s earnings to $280,023. The Canadian-bred colt is now a five-time winner in six career starts. Three weeks ago, he finished sixth in the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland to suffer his only defeat. His wins in Canada this summer over Woodbine’s Polytrack included a 7 ¾-length romp in the $137,799 Victoria at five furlongs and a 6 ¾-length score in the $145,393 Colin at six furlongs.
Norman Casse, who oversees his father’s Churchill Downs string, said the $200,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (Grade II) over 1 1/16 miles on Saturday, Nov. 29 is an option for Conquest Tsunami’s next start. The KJC is part of the “Kentucky Derby Prep Season” and the Top 4 finishers will earn 10-4-2-1 points, respectively, on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.”
In the $62,768 Rags to Riches, West Coast Belle scored a mild upset with a 6 ¾-length tally over 74-1 bomber Simply Confection in 1:37.38. Taylor S set a rapid pace of :22.04, :45.19 and 1:11.52 with 8-5 favorite Hopefaithjoy trailing the field of 10 2-year-old fillies. Simply Confection collared Taylor S but could not withstand the late charge of West Coast Belle who drew away. Hopefaithjoy would finish fourth.
Channing Hill rode the winner, a gray or roan Tapit filly, for trainer Wayne Catalano. She’s unbeaten in two starts and the $37,077 first prize increased her earnings to $57,597. West Coast Belle paid $25.40 to win.
Other 2-year-old victors on the program included males Island Town (one mile in 1:36.58, $6.40), Senor Grits (six furlongs in 1:11.10, $7.60), Moonlight Bandit (one mile in 1:37.62, $13.40) and Grade I winner Emollient’s half-brother Courtier (1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:44.17, $4) and fillies Lavender Chrissie (six furlongs in 1:10.99, $6.20), Jojo’s Melody (one mile in 1:38.66, $10.80), Classy Corinthian (six furlongs in 1:12.22, $9) and Aunt Sheri (one mile on turf in 1:38.57, $7.40).
STREET SENSE QUOTES
SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN, jockey of CONQUEST TSUNAMI (winner): “I had a perfect trip. It was just what we had hoped for and he delivered. I thought going into it that my horse was the class of this race and he proved it today.”
NORMAN CASSE, assistant trainer to MARK CASSE, trainer of CONQUEST TSUNAMI (winner): “I thought we needed to give him a little bit of a break after his first start on dirt. He set pretty good fractions over in the Breeders’ Futurity but he just got tired late. In that race he was being chased by who we thought might be the best two-year-old in the country. I thought today was a little better gage of what he can do on the dirt and hopefully we can move forward from there.”
On Conquest Tsunami’s next race – “I’d say all options are open at this point: the Kentucky Jockey Club, the Delta Jackpot… a number of races. But we just wanted to make sure we were on the right path with him and I think he showed us that today.”
RAGS TO RICHES QUOTES
CHANNING HILL, jockey of WEST COAST BELLE (winner): “With two-year-olds going a mile around one turn it can be a little tricky; you’ve got a lot of horses that want to show a little speed. I got lucky in that I felt like I had much the best. She broke well and placed herself nicely. I had to ask her a little bit earlier than I wanted to just so I could kind of keep her spot down the backside. In the turn she took a nice deep breath for me, which was probably one of the key reasons she was able to win since she was able to keep herself back earlier. But this is a nice filly and she probably has unlimited potential at this stage. She just strided all the way out to the wire and galloped out very nicely.”
WAYNE CATALANO, trainer of WEST COAST BELLE (winner): “It was a good trip. Channing (Hill) gave her a very nice ride. I told him that he would probably have to carve her way through around the backside and around the turn and then just to kind of tip out when he was ready and it went exactly like we had planned. It’s great when a plan comes together; it doesn’t always work out like that, but today was exactly how we wrote it down.”