Flashy Bull and heavy favorite Hesanoldsalt staged a furious stretch duel Saturday at Pimlico in the $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO), with Flashy Bull winning the head bob.
Both horses were in striking distance through the early fractions cut by Take the Bluff but as they angled through the turn and started down the stretch, it became a two-horse race. All the way down the stretch, Flashy Bull and Alan Garcia on the inside and Hesanoldsalt and Edgar Prado on the outside battled it out.
At the wire, Flashy Bull just edged his rival by a head, the pair hitting the line in 1:47.86, not far off Private Term’s 18-year-old track record of 1:47.20 for the nine furlongs.
“From the quarter pole on, my horse just gave everything to the finish," said the New York-based Garcia. "I’m very proud of him. This is one of my biggest wins. What a race.”
The horses really flew home because the first two fractions were not lighting quick -- :23.31 and :47.34. Take the Bluff ran six furlongs in 1:10.80 and the mile split was 1:35.27.
"It was the bob of the head, so no excuses," Prado said. "None. He ran good – 1:47, you couldn’t ask for better than that.”
Flashy Bull paid $8.40, $3.60, and $3, while 4-5 favorite Headanoldsalt returned $2.80 and $2.20. Ryan’s for Real came on to get third, five lengths behind under Ramon Dominguez and was worth $3.40 to show. Take the Bluff ran fourth, followed by Belongs to Joe, Two Sixty Four, Sunriver and Urban Conquest.
Flashy Bull, a 4-year-old Holy Bull colt, is owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. Out of the Mt. Livermore mare Iridescence, he was bred in Kentucky by Jerry and Liz Squires.
“The race set up really well for us," said Terry Finley, managing partner of Flashy Bull's ownership group. "We thought there’d be a lot of speed and there was. Down the backstretch, I kept my eye on Edgar, and I thought we were going to run a good second. This horse really came back well. We couldn’t have been happier today."
Several times graded stakes-placed, Flashy Bull was winning for the four time in 17 starts, including victories in his last three outings, having taken an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in March and an optional claimer at Aqueduct in April. The gray colt finished 14th in last year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and later finished third in the Ohio Derby (gr. II).