Rallying from dead last, Lantern Hill Farm LLC's homebred Motor City made a thrilling run to take the Grade 3, $110,700 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs, beating out rival Seven Lively Sins by three parts of a length. Sunday's Iroquois marked the first stakes victory, and subsequently first graded victory, for any progeny of freshman sire Street Sense.
The Ian Wilkes-trained Motor City was sent off as the 3-1 third choice with jockey Calvin Borel up and returned $8.20, $3.40 and $2.40 when finishing a mile on the fast dirt in 1:37.
Seven Lively Sins led the entire race through splits of :22 4/5, :46 1/5 and 1:11 1/5, before giving way on the inside to the charging Motor City with a furlong left. Seven Lively Sins held on for second, with near 3-2 favorite Mr. Bowling finishing third. Fine was fourth, with Chalybeate Springs, Hollywood Script and Purely Determined rounding out the order of finish.
"He ran like his daddy (Street Sense)," Borel said. "We knew he was a good one all along and Ian never gave up on him. We hope to be here next year (for the Kentucky Derby)."
Motor City broke his maiden in his second start at Ellis Park on August 14. From there he went on to earn black-type credit by placing third in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity on September 10, then ran eighth at Keeneland in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity on October 8. His lifetime record now stands at 5-2-1-1 with earnings of $99,183.
The Kentucky-bred Motor City is out of Shawgatny, who also produced listed winner Satulagi. Shawgatny is herself a full sister to Star of Gdansk, who was a Group 3 winner in Ireland, and half-sister to W. D. Jacks, winner of the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap in 1987. The mare also counts as a half-sibling stakes victress Empress Jackie, who produced Group 3 vixen Tajannub. Motor City's granddam, Star Empress, was also a stakes scorer.
"He ran really well today," Wilkes said. "The race set up like we wanted. Sometimes it works out perfect. We'll make sure he comes out of the race fine and then we'll definitely look at the (Grade 2 Kentucky) Jockey Club (on November 26)."