(November 15, 2008) – Courtlandt Farms’ Indescribable closed from far back to nip Long Approach in the shadow of the wire to win the 36th running of the $113,400 Cardinal Handicap (Grade III) by a head at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Indescribable covered the 1 1/8 miles on a “yielding” Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:55.77.
Favored Callwood Dancer, ridden by Eurico Da Silva, took the field through fractions of :25.14 and :51.78 while on an uncontested lead. Kiss With a Twist, under Miguel Mena and Long Approach with Julien Leparoux up, both moved at Callwood Dancer at the head of the lane while Indescribable was near the back of the pack waiting for room.
Once Desormeaux got Indescribable in the clear, she took dead aim on the leaders, collaring Kiss With a Twist first and then easing past Long Approach just before the wire.
The victory gave trainer Bill Mott his record sixth win in the Cardinal and increased his record overall win total at Churchill Downs to 594, a record 75 coming in stakes.
The winner’s check of $66,793 increased Indescribable’s career earnings to $332,595 with five victories in 16 starts and her second turf win.
Indescribable, a homebred 4-year-old filly by Pleasant Tap out of the Flying Paster mare Catnip, returned mutuels of $15.40, $8.40 and $4.40. Long Approach returned $8.40 and $4.80 with Kiss With a Twist, who finished a half-length back in third, returning $6.20 to show.
Completing the field in order were Callwood Dancer, Sousaphone, Lady Digby, Meribel, Ciao, Ballymore Lady and Queendom.
POST-RACE QUOTES – THE CARDINAL HANDICAP
KENT DESORMEAUX (Jockey, Indescribable, winner) – “That was fun! At the three-sixteenths pole, I thought I had no chance. But, as they say in Europe, ‘when she presented herself’ and got clear, she really leveled out and took off. She did not have any trouble with the ground at all. She never had that one stumble or bobble. In the last 40 yards, I was pretty confident that we were going to win.”
KENNY McCARTHY (Assistant to trainer Bill Mott, Indescribable, winner) – “We felt like she would be tough today, but the only question we had was whether she could handle the yielding turf. It looks like she handled it fine.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX, jockey on LONG APPROACH (runner-up)
“She ran well. I thought I got it, too, because she was still running. She didn’t get tired or anything, so I thought I had a good chance. But the winner came so very fast to get her at the end.”
Q: Did you hear the winner coming?
“I didn’t really. She just came all at one time and very fast to get me in the last jump.”
Q: You had her close early as there was no pace in the race…
“It was a very slow pace, so I was close. She was in behind some horses and I think that helped her on this kind of track. She ran good, she just got beat.”
JONATHAN SHEPPARD, trainer on LONG APPROACH (runner-up, via telephone from Camden, S.C.)
“I was delighted. I watched it on television in a friend’s house. I’m in Camden, South Carolina. I thought she ran extremely gamely, because she was battling a horse on the inside of her, then she passed that one and the other one got back in front of her and then she got back in front of that one. And then the winner comes flying down the outside and nails us on the line. But I thought Leparoux gave her an absolutely beautiful ride. She was well-placed all the way and she responded well to him, and I was thrilled with the great ride because I’ve been talking with Mr. Strawbridge about keeping her in training another year. He’d been talking about retiring her. I told him that I don’t think we’ve seen the best of her, because she missed all the first part of the year with a fractured splint bone. She’s a nice, honest filly – she probably just misses being really good, but you never know. As a five-year-old maybe she’ll improve a little bit.”
Q: Julien said she didn’t get tired, she just got caught…
“I haven’t had the chance to speak with him, but that’s very encouraging. That gives us something to look forward to next year.”
Q: Were you surprised that she was so close…
“No, but I guess she was there because they were going so slow. Normally she’s not that far back and I thought she probably would be a little closer to the middle of the pack than right on the heels of the leaders. But she seemed to settle nicely and was in a perfect striking position.”
MIGUEL MENA, rider on KISS WITH A TWIST (third)
“She ran huge. Turning for home she kind of opened up (on the lead) and I thought I was home free, but she kind of started getting a little tired at the sixteenth pole. But it was still a big race for her and she keeps coming around. This was a very tough race and it was a huge race for her. I like this filly – she’s coming around.”
EURICO DA SILVA, rider on CALLWOOD DANCER (fourth as the favorite)
“When I was galloping on the lead she was good, but when I really needed her she was struggling. The track was a little too deep for her today, but she ran a good race.”
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