Making his turf debut, maiden Soldat seized the lead at the head of the stretch and scored a convincing three-length win in the $100,000 With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Saratoga Sept. 3.
The 2-year-old son of War Front —Le Relais, by Coronado's Quest went off at odds of 8-1 with Alan Garcia aboard and completed the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:41.37 over a firm Mellon Turf course. Soldat became War Front's first graded stakes winner.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for owners Harvey A. Clarke and Craig W. Robertson III, Soldat had run second in his two previous starts, both main track sprints.
"He’s run two excellent seconds on the dirt, and we thought if he liked the turf, he’d be able to win a race like this," McLaughlin said. "That’s why we entered a maiden in here. There’s only a couple of graded stakes for 2-year-olds to go to the Breeders’ Cup, so now he’s probably in the Breeders’ Cup."
The $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf is Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.
"War Front is a very nice freshman sire that I trained for awhile, so I’m happy that he has his first graded stakes winner," said McLaughlin. "War Front was by Danzig, so there’s a lot of turf there and (Soldat) worked well on it. We’ve always liked him. This was a great result today; we’re happy.”
Breaking from post 9 in the field of 10 juveniles, Soldat was away alertly for Garcia, who angled his charge into second as Typhoon Slew, leaving from the rail slot, hustled his way to the lead for jockey Julien Leparoux. Powhatan County, the 2-1 favorite ridden by Javier Castellano, was forwardly placed in third, with Sensational Slam right there as well. There was considerable bumping shortly after the break, affecting at least six horses.
The leaders' positions remained unchanged as 7-1 Typhoon Slew showed the way through quarter-mile fractions of :23.08, :47.97 and 1:12.35 while maintaining a one-length advantage or more. Asked for more by Garcia, Soldat cut into the margin rounding the final bend and took the lead on the outside of Typhoon Slew at the head of the lane. Powhatan County loomed up on the outside as they approached mid-stretch but Soldat had more to give under some left-handed urging and put his rival away impressively.
“He really took to the grass," Garcia said. "Very impressive. I had a great trip today. When I asked him at the quarter-pole, whoosh! He really took off.”
Powhatan County, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus who was placed third in the one-mile Continental Mile in his last start Aug. 14 at Monmouth Park, finished a clear second by 3 1/4 lengths over Typhoon Slew. Air Support ran on for fourth, three-quarters of a length farther back, followed by Silver Medallion, Kid Curry, Grigio, Manchurian High, Sensational Slam and Lou Brissie.
Bred in Kentucky by Brookfield Stud, Soldat began his career at Belmont Park June 10 on a muddy track, finishing second at five furlongs to Bail Out the Cat. He returned at Saratoga July 24 with a distant runner-up effort on a good track to Wine Police as the favorite at 5 1/2 furlongs. His victory in the With Anticipation was worth $60,000, boosting his career earnings to $80,000.
Soldat was a $180,000 purchase at the 2009 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Sent off as the sixth choice, the winning dark bay or brown colt carried 116 pounds and paid $19.40, $7.40 and $5.90 while topping a $71 exacta with Powhatan County, who returned $3.60 and $3.20. Typhoon Slew, coming off 10 3/4-length maiden victory at Ellis Park July 16 for trainer Mike Maker, was $6.30 to show.
Madman Diaries and Running Tap were entered for the main track only.