Sultan Bin Mishal’s Saham rallied from the back in a field of nine 3-year-olds and finished down the stretch with a rush to win the 38th running of Saturday’s $100,000 Jefferson Cup (Grade III) at Churchill Downs by three-quarters of a length over pacesetter Watchyourownbobber.
Sent off as the 5-1 third betting choice, Saham finished the mile-long event on the firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:37.76 under the guidance of jockey Joe Rocco Jr.
Trained by Brendan Walsh, Saham returned backers with $12.80, $7.60 and $5.80. Watchyourownbobber, ridden by Julien Leparoux, paid $11.80 and $7 and third-place finisher Wayward Kitten with Rafael Hernandez in the saddle returned $6.20 to show.
Flashy Chelsey, Cat Humor, Syntax (IRE), 2-1 favorite Nun the Less, High Noon Rider and Pride of Stride completed the order of finish. Sylven Park and Wild and Unbridled were scratched.
Watchyourownbobber led the field through modest fractions of :25.03, :50.54 and 1:15.11 with Saham trailing the field early on. The winner commenced his run with a wide move on the far turn, rallied into the stretch and took command from the outside to move clear in the final stages.
The first prize was $59,520 and hiked Saham’s bankroll to $165,406 with a record of 10-3-2-1. It was Saham’s first graded stakes win.
Saham is a son of Lemon Drop Kid out of the Forest Wildcat mare Texas Kitty and was bred in Pennsylvania by Everest Stables Inc.
JEFFERSON CUP QUOTES
BRENDAN WALSH, trainer of SAHAM (winner): “Never ran a bad race this year. I always thought he was nice. We’ve always liked him. He won a really good main race down in Florida over the winter. I’ve always trained him with being a nicer older horse as time goes on. I think he’s going to be a hell of a 4-year-old. Today I think he showed what he can really do.
“I don’t know where we would go next to be honest. We ran him last at Indiana Grand and this was probably the main aim for the whole year. We might try to run him once more this year seeing as though he is on top of his game, and see how that goes. After that, we may give him a break and get him ready for the spring here this year.”
JOE ROCCO JR., jockey of SAHAM (winner): “I thought I was too wide and I thought they were going too slow, but my horse was in his comfort zone. He wasn’t too far back and thankfully when I called on him, he had a big turn of foot and was still able to go by them. I was grateful to get the mount. He’s a nice horse. He really motored home.”
MIKE MAKER, trainer of WATCHYOUROWNBOBBER (second): “He’s not the most attractive horse but he’s a hard-trying horse. He ran much better than I expected. He always shows up.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX, jockey of WATCHYOUROWNBOBBER (second): “He ran well and closed well. We just couldn’t catch the winner.”