It looks as if Mastercraftsman will be joining stablemate Rip Van Winkle in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) after the colt’s easy victory in the 1 1/8-mile Diamond Stakes (Ire-III) on the all-weather track at
Mastercraftsman, under Johnny Murtagh, allowed Via Galilei and his own pacemaker, Augustusthestrong, to open up a 15-length advantage down the backstretch. Murtagh didn’t ask Masterctaftsman for his run until they passed the three-eighths pole, with the leaders still far out in front. But the 2-9 favorite hit his stride quickly, changed leads on cue turning for home, and blew right on by the two leaders, while being hand-ridden by Murtagh.
Fiery Lad, at 10-1, made a run on the far outside, but Mastercraftsman was well in the clear and now being taken in hand by Murtagh. He was under wraps passing the wire, winning by five lengths.
This was an excellent test to see how he’d handle the synthetic track, and he did everything right, striding smoothly over the surface, rating kindly, and putting in an explosive move when asked. It was an extremely easy victory, and he’ll no doubt head for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
"I'm delighted with that performance," O'Brien said in the Sportling Life. "There was no pussy-footing around and they went at a very strong gallop. Johnny, as usual, kept his cool, and he knows the horse better than anyone.
"You had to be impressed with that performance, and Johnny said when he went to follow the leaders he probably got there a bit too soon.
"He's proven he can go on the surface, and we still have to decide whether which of the two races he will go for at the Breeders' Cup."