Godolphin’s homebred Enticed was sent off the 3-1 favorite against 13 rivals in Saturday’s $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) and lived up to those odds when pulling out a head victory under jockey Junior Alvarado on the wire.
The 1 1/16-mile contest lost one of its participants when Diamond King clipped heels on the first turn and unseated jockey Frankie Pennington. The Blood-Horse’s Alicia Wincze Hughes tweeted that the rider suffered a cut on his face and was transported to the hospital complaining of pain in the groin area.
Diamond King continued running, but behind and on the outside away from the main body of the field upon hitting the backstretch. Up front, Promises Fulfilled led the way through splits of :23.60, :47.70, 1:12.53 and 1:37.90 with Reride sandwiched between Enticed and Gotta Go behind him.
Reride ranged up to challenge Promises Fulfilled rounding the turn, and Arrival joined the fray after stalking outside of Enticed. Jockey Junior Alvarado was getting busy on Enticed, though, and the duo were eight wide on the final turn before angling over in the lane.
Promises Fulfilled was tenacious, turning back the earlier threats, but couldn’t withstand either Enticed or Tiz Mischief, who rallied entering the lane after running near the rear of the field on the backstretch.
Enticed and Tiz Mischief battled it out in the final yards, with Enticed getting the head-bobbing win in a final time of 1:44.42 over the fast main track to return $8.80.
The win awarded Enticed with 10 points toward a starting berth in the 2018 Kentucky Derby (G1), as the Kentucky Jockey Club is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series of points races. The Medaglia d’Oro colt now boasts a total of 12 points, having finished third last out in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park to make his debut on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with two points on October 7.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Enticed broke his maiden at first asking while going six furlongs over a muddy, sealed Saratoga track on September 4, and has earned $213,880 lifetime to go along with his 3-2-0-1 record.
Tiz Mischief took home four points toward a starting berth in the 2018 Derby while the game Promises Fulfilled garnered two points after suffering his first career loss when finishing another 2 1/2 lengths behind in third. That same margin separated Promises Fulfilled and fourth-placer High North, who makes his Derby Leaderboard bow with one point.
Completing the order of finish for the Kentucky Jockey Club were Lone Sailor, Reride, Quip, Givemeaminit, John Tippmann, Bravazo, Arrival, Peppered and Gotta Go.
KENTUCKY JOCKEY CLUB QUOTES
Junior Alvarado, jockey Enticed, winner
“My horse had quite the learning experience. He’s still a baby so there is a lot of room to grow still. He’s a big colt. It was a little rough coming into the first turn with a lot of horses in front of him but he handled it well. Turning for home, he shied a little bit when a horse came out but dug in. He got a little lost once he got in front but he dug in and finished well. I thought I had it at the wire but it was very close. I asked Robby (Albarado aboard Tiz Mischief) on the gallop out and he told me he thought I had it.”
Jimmy Bell, president and racing manager for owner Godolphin, Enticed, winner
“It was about as an eventful of a race as you can get as these babies are doing a lot of growing up and maturing mentally – and Enticed did a lot of that today. Maybe it was a little more experience than we asked for. He’s a big horse but he was able to settle well. We’re really optimistic about his future.”
Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer Enticed, winner
“This was a huge win! He is so well-bred and to win a Grade 2 with him as a two-year-old is very important. And it makes it special to win it at Churchill Downs. Knowing that he likes the track is great, and Junior rode him very well.”
Note: Kiaran McLaughin commented via text because he is on a cruise with 24 family members in celebration of his mother Judy’s birthday.
Dale Romans, trainer Tiz Mischief (second) and Promises Fulfilled (third)
“We were in front the jump before and the jump after the wire. Man, that’s as close as you can get without winning it. I’m so proud of both of my horse’s efforts. To get narrowly defeated like that isn’t fun but you have to be proud of these horses for the future. Both of the jockeys rode a perfect race.”
Robby Albarado, jockey Tiz Mischief, second
“He ran huge. I had a beautiful trip. All that (involving unseated rider Frankie Pennington aboard Diamond King) happened in front of me, so I didn’t have to check or anything. I came through in the second turn on the inside and it opened up turning for home. He came home and he wanted to win. He tried to win.”
What were you thinking in those final yards?
“He fought back I’m not going to take anything away from the winner – that’s a nice horse that beat us. This was a pretty good field that was put together. There wasn’t really a standout horse. It was a pretty balanced field. That was a good field and I think a quality horse beat us.”
But Tiz Mischief has a strong future?
“I really like him. He can stay the distance and he galloped out good. He’s got too many qualities not to be good.”