Corinthian Blows Away Foes in Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile
Laying just off the early pace, Corinthian rallied around the turn and made a thunderous move under jockey Kent Desormeaux in the stretch to take the inaugural $1-million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile Oct. 26 at Monmouth Park by 6 1/2-lengths.
Bred in Kentucky by Gracefield Equine and Hargus Sexton, Corinthian won for the fourth time this year. Once a Breeders' Cup Classic-Powered by Dodge (gr. I) contender, the son of Pulpitwon the Metropolitan Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park in May, but was disappointing in his last two starts, the Suburban Handicap (gr. I) and Woodward Stakes (gr. I), finishing unplaced in both.
The victory was the fourth graded stakes of Corinthian's 12-start career.
Trained by Jimmy Jerkens and owned by Don Little Jr.'s syndicated partnership Centennial Farms, the 4-year-old colt covered the one-mile, 70-yard distance over a sloppy track in 1:39. Pacesetter Gottcha Gold was 8 1/4-lengths in front of 3-2 favorite Discreet Cat, who took third. Wanderin Boy finished fourth.
Out of Easy Goer mare Multiply, Corinthian returned $9.40, $4.40, and $3. Gottcha Gold paid $6.20 and $3.40, while Discreet Cat paid $2.60. The exacta was worth $60.20. The trifecta netted $107.70.
It was the first Breeders' Cup victory for Centennial Farms and the second for Jerkens, who saddled Artie Schiller to the Breeders' Cup Mile title in 2005. Desormeaux celebrated his third World Championships victory.
"Really terrific," Jerkens said. "He’s been training great, but his last two races were sub par, so it was hard to get overly confident. Kent rode him beautifully. That was the plan, to try to tuck him in. He doesn’t mind running on the inside. He might as well save the ground when he can.
"This ranks right up there with Artie Schiller.”
The victory added to Desormeaux's already terrific campaign. “Fifty yards out of the gate, I was nine abreast," Desormeaux quipped. "I said, ‘This is ridiculous’ and I just pulled him up and ended up inside of the whole field down on the fence. It turned out to be the perfect position to keep his face clean. This colt is a fireball. He just dragged me down the stretch.”
At the break, Wanderin Boy gunned for the early lead but was quickly overtaken by Gottcha Gold, who led the field through fractions of :22 2/5, :45 4/5, 1:00.1, before Desormeaux rallied Corinthian, who had been placed third through the early going, around the far turn to pull away for the win.
Jockey Garrett Gomez, on Discreet Cat, said he had some trouble trying to ease his mount off the rail going into the first turn.
"It didn’t happen as smoothly as it could have, but the idea was to get him to the outside in a tracking position because they were moving along pretty good," Gomez said. "About the half-mile pole when I needed horse, he just kind of stayed. I thought he was completely done. I just kept scrubbing away, and he hung on and run third for us."
Gomez said the colt, who won his first six races – three of the graded – since the summer of 2005 is something of mystery now. Discreet Cat was laid off for about six months following a seventh-place finish in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). His poor performance was attributed to a throat infection.
“There’s something missing, and we’re going to try to find it,“ Gomez said.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said he didn't want to make excuses for his colt.
"There’s nothing we can tell right now," he said. "Maybe it was the ground, or maybe his throat. We’re headed back to the barn now.”
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