|NORTHERN DANCER TURF S.|
Won at 6NORTHERN DANCER TURF S.
(CAN-I , 12f , defeating Just as Well, Quijano (GER), Champs Elysees (GB), Marchfield, Marlang, Cobotown Ron, Medjool, Solitaire ).
Just as Well benefitted from the disqualification of initial winner Marsh Side to be awarded victory in the Sept. 20 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (Can-I). Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Just as Well closed from far back on the far turn in the 11Ú2-mile turf race, and was taken to the outside after being blocked in mid-stretch. The 6-year-old horse owned and trained by Jonathan Sheppard was able to avoid most of the traffic trouble in the final furlong that resulted in the disqualification of Marsh Side. After a lengthy review, stewards disqualified Marsh Side and placed him fourth, ruling that he had interfered with Quijano and subsequently Champs Elysees, last yearÕs Northern Dancer Turf winner.
The victory was the second in eight starts this year for Just as Well, who posted his first stakes triumph when winning the July 11 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park. He subsequently finished second to Gio Ponti in the Arlington Million (gr. IT), his last start before the Northern Dancer.
Just as Well was bred in Kentucky by the Augustin Stable of George Strawbridge, for whom Sheppard has trained many stakes winners, including 2008 champion turf mare Forever Together. Strawbridge, a resident of Cochranville, Pa., who operates a 700-acre farm in Chester County, was honored Sept. 11 by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association as the 2008 national owner of the year. Augustin also bred and races multiple 2009 grade III winner Winter View and campaigns additional 2009 grade I winners Informed Decision and Forever Together, as well as stakes winners Kurbat, Ice Bear, and Auction Watch.
The Northern Dancer winner is one of eight 2009 stakes winners trained by Sheppard, who was elected into the National Museum of RacingÕs Hall of Fame in 1990. Sheppard is the all-time leading trainer of steeplechase horses in North America and saddled Mixed Up to win this yearÕs A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase (NSA-I) at Saratoga.
Just as Well is one of 125 stakes winners sired by A.P. Indy. With 13 stakes winners this year, the 20-year-old son of Seattle Slew is represented by grade I winners Music Note, Telling, and Flashing, and grade II winners Marchfield, Friesan Fire, and Eldaafer. A.P. Indy stands at William S. FarishÕs LaneÕs End Farm near Versailles, Ky., where his 2009 fee was $250,000.ÑR.M.
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