Lauburu, a half-brother to dual champion Ashado, held on by a nose to graduate in his first time out Nov. 13 at Aqueduct (VIDEO).
Purchased for $925,000 as a 2009 Keeneland September yearling, Lauburu stumbled slightly at the start of the day's second race but prompted the pace in second while racing outside of the early leader. He took the lead under a drive with less than a furlong to travel, and out-nodded rallying Break Up the Game at the wire.
Lauburu, the 9-5 favorite, was clocked at 1:24.50 for seven furlongs under jockey John Velazquez.
“Lauburu’s a very physically imposing horse,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to Todd Pletcher, who trains the 2-year-old son of Unbridled's Song--Goulash, by Mari's Book, on behalf of Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, James Scatuorchio, and Derrick Smith. “He’s a horse we have high hopes for, and he has impressed us in the morning.
"With any young horse you don’t want them to get a lot of dirt in their face, and he was able to get a nice stalking trip. Johnny was working on him, but he’s a big horse and he’s maturing. He’s still growing a lot, in his head as well as physically.”
Pletcher also trained Ashado, who won the Spinaway (gr. I) as a juvenile and earned the 2004 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly title after adding grade I successes in the Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The following year she was named Champion Older Filly after winning the Ogden Phipps Handicap, Go For Wand Handicap, and Beldame (all gr. I).
Ashado – a full-sister to Sunriver, a grade I winner on the turf who was third in the 2006 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), and grade III victor Saint Stephen – retired with a record of 12-4-3 from 21 starts and more than $3.93 million in earnings.