Wimborne Farm’s gray 7-year-old Kasaqui (ARG) avenged a half-length loss in last year’s $200,000 Wise Dan (Grade II) at Churchill Downs when he struck the lead with an eighth of a mile to run and easily beat Chocolate Ride by 2 ¾ lengths in Saturday night’s 28th renewal of the 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up. Defending champ Pleuven (FR) failed to threaten and finished sixth of eight as the 2-1 favorite.
Trained by Ignacio Correas IV and ridden by James Graham, Kasaqui (ARG) stopped the teletimer in 1:40.26, which is the fastest clocking at the distance over the surface at the Spring Meet.
Chocolate Ride set the pace through fractions of :23.81, :47.25 and 1:10.87 as Kasaqui (ARG) settled off of the inside early on before commencing his rally with a four-wide move on the far turn. He took over nearing the final furlong marker and shook clear for the comfortable stakes triumph – the second of his career.
The victory was worth $120,280 and boosted Kasaqui (ARG)’s bankroll to $651,547 with a record of 26-6-10-1. Last year, he won the $125,000 Arlington Handicap (GIII) and finished second to Mondialiste (IRE) in the $1 million Arlington Million XXXIV (GI). Prior to the Wise Dan, Kasaqui (ARG) finished fourth in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) on Kentucky Derby Day.
Kasaqui (ARG) returned $8.40, $4.60 and $3.20 as the 3-1 second betting choice. Chocolate Ride, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, returned $8 and $4.60 and finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Conquest Panthera who paid $4.40 to show under Robby Albarado. It was another head back to Bondurant, who was followed by Blofeld, Pleuven (FR), Thatcher Street and Security Risk.
Kasaqui (ARG) is a son of Lasting Approval out of the Alysheba mare Kemosheba. He was bred in Argentina by San Francisco de Pilar.
The Wise Dan, formerly known as the Firecracker until 2016, was renamed to honor Mort Fink’s 2012-13 Horse of the Year that compiled a remarkable lifetime record of 31-23-2-0—$7,7552,920 from 2010-14, including seven Churchill Downs wins and two Firecracker triumphs. One of the area’s most popular horses, Wise Dan, now age 9, returned to Churchill Downs and the celebrated gelding was paraded to the paddock with horses for the stakes race.
WISE DAN QUOTES
JAMES GRAHAM, jockey of KASAQUI (ARG) (winner): “He broke sharp, settled back and came absolutely sprinting home at the end. I wish all of my races were this simple. Once I got him in the clear, he had his mind on winning. He ran a great race and I’m so proud of him.”
IGNACIO CORREAS IV, trainer of KASAQUI (ARG) (winner): “I’m so happy of our entire stable. This was a great win and I’m very proud of my horse.”
COREY LANERIE, jockey of PLEUVEN (second as the favorite): “You know he just wasn’t good enough today. He was in a good spot, I thought. And when I asked him to go, he wasn’t fast enough.”
ROBBY ALBARADO, jockey of CONQUEST PANTHERA (third): “Nice horse won. Been on him quite a few times. My horse ran great. I believe that he may be limited on his distance here. I think he’s probably a better miler. Still ran a huge race.”
NORM CASSE, assistant trainer of CONQUEST PANTHERA (third): “He ran a solid race. I thought he had a fair trip and it was a good third-place effort.”