Claiborne Farm's homebred Watch rallied from mid-pack to win the $169,350 Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs Saturday. Under Craig Perret, Watch completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.12 on the firm turf course.
Ioya Two brought a four-race win streak into the Cardinal and looked to add a fifth on the front end Saturday, setting comfortable fractions under Mark Guidry to lead by three after a half-mile. Alybgood cut into the lead in the next quarter-mile but Ioya Two withstood the challenge and led the nine-horse field into the stretch. Watch, fifth after six furlongs, rallied through the stretch to earn the one-length win over a fast-closing Sitka, who nosed out Gino's Spirits for the place spot. Ioya Two came home fourth, followed by Clearly a Queen, Babae, Binalegend, Alybgood, and Lapuma.
The third betting choice at odds of 5-1, Watch returned $12, $6, and $4.40. Sitka paid $17.60 and $8.20, with Gino's Spirits returning $3.60 to show. The winning exacta combination paid $221.20.
The win marks the first graded stakes win for the Frank Brothers-trained 4-year-old daughter of Lord At War. Watch has finished first or second in five starts since returning from a layoff in June, including second-place finishes in both the Bryan Station and River Cities Breeders' Cup in her two most recent outings. As a 3-year-old, she won the Summer Prom Breeders' Cup on the Hawthorne turf course. Watch earned $104,997 for the win, her eighth in 17 career starts. (Chart, Equibase