Houyhnhnm Stable’s Great Attack surged past favored Bridgetown in deep stretch to win the 18th running of the $150,350 Twin Spires Turf Sprint Presented by GE Appliances (Grade III) by a three-quarters of a length, the first of six stakes on the Kentucky Derby Day card.
Trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by Joel Rosario, Great Attack had finished fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GII) here in his lone previous try over the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Bridgetown, ridden by John Velazquez, had spurted away from the field in upper stretch and maintained a daylight margin inside the sixteenth pole, but could not hold off Great Attack.
Great Attack, a 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Greatness out of the Storm Cat mare Cat Attack, covered the five furlongs on a Matt Winn Turf Course labeled as “good” in :56.61.
The victory was worth $86,692 and increased Great Attack’s earnings to $378,010 with a record of 17-6-4-2.
Great Attack returned $10.80, $4.60 and $3.60. Bridgetown returned $3.40 and $3 in finishing two lengths in front of Cactus Son, who paid $8 to show under Garrett Gomez.
Great Mills was another 1 ¼ lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by Spinning Move, Chamberlain Bridge, Stormy Going, Amanecer de Oro, Santo Gato, Shabaab, Speight the Halo and City Sage.
TWIN SPIRES TURF SPRINT QUOTES
JOEL ROSARIO (Jockey, Great Attack, first) – "He's a nice horse. He put in a great race. He was really running. It makes me happy because I know we wore down a really nice horse."
WESLEY WARD (Trainer, Great Attack, first) – “He’s a very special sprinter – I told Joel (Rosario) the instructions were to be ‘a cool sitter and a go-getter,’ and that’s what he did, boy.
What happened in the Shakertown last time out? “As horses get older and he’s getting a little more settled in his mind, he’s raced that way in the past – from behind – but you get caught up in these five-eighths sprints you can over-analyze and get caught up in having your rider a little too close. Today I thought, with Todd (Pletcher)’s horse being fresh and such a good horse, we didn’t have anything to lose, we would just sit back there and make one big run. That’s sort of how Joel likes to ride. Both of them made a perfect pair and a perfect match.”
Next? “I don’t know, we’ll have to take a look.”
JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Jockey, Bridgetown, second, beaten favorite) – “We got away good, but we went too fast on soft turf and that hurt us in the end.”
KENNY SMITH (Trainer, Cactus Son, third) – “He ran a super race. We wanted to try and get him off the inside figuring it would be softer down there being it was wet. Once he got out of there, he came on good. I’m real proud of him vs. these horses.”
STEVE ASMUSSEN (Trainer, Great Mills, fourth): “He ran great but I don’t think he appreciated the soft ground. I would have loved to have been able to run him over that hard course yesterday, which is more to his liking.”
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.