Charles E. Fipke's Canadian-based Perfect Soul returned to Keeneland Saturday and showed his affinity for the course, winning the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) by three-quarters of a length over Honor in War, with Touch of the Blues third.
Ridden by Edgar Prado for trainer Roger Attfield, the 5-year-old son of Sadler's Wells unleashed a strong closing kick in deep stretch for the victory. He ran a mile on the firm course in 1:36 as he improved his bankroll to $1,136,215 gleaned from six starts and four placings in 14 starts.
"We had to come to Keeneland to win one," said Attfield of the horse's last two efforts in which he was fifth, only three-quarters of a length behind the winner, in the Arlington Million (gr. IT), and third in Canada's Atto Mile (Can-I), won by Touch of the Blues. "When he got shuffled back early I thought, 'Here we go again.' In fairness to the horse, he shouldn't have lost a race this year."
Fipke said the winner will be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.
The winner paid $15.00, $7.20 and $4.40. Honor in War, winner of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) in May, returned $9.00 and $6.00. Touch of the Blues, who was second in the Shadwell Mile last year, paid $3.20 to show.
"I was very confident going into this race," said Prado. "He finished very strong in the Atto Mile and I thought he‚d have a great chance today. We had a great trip. They were smokin' up front so I just waited and the horse responded."
Seventh with a quarter mile remaining, Perfect Soul went wide at the top of the stretch and got by Honor in War and Touch of the Blues in the final strides. Soaring Free finished fourth, followed, in order, by Inesperado, Trademark, Della Francesca, Naraingang, Stage Call and Fredericktown, the early leader.
Bred in Ireland by his owner, Perfect Soul won a 1 1/8-mile allowance at Keeneland in April of this year. His only previous stakes triumph came at Woodbine in June when he took the King Edward Breeders' Cup Handicap (Can-II).