The 1 1/16-mile test on turf is worth $200,000 and is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge race, giving the winner an automatic berth in the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park plus a travel stipend.
Due Diligence, who made his debut for Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence but is now owned by Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith, drew the outside post 9 in the Pilgrim and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano for new trainer Todd Pletcher. The colt, a son of the hot sire War Front , was previously trained by Chad Brown.
Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Due Diligence is out of the stakes-winning Bema, by Pulpit, a half sister to stakes winner Deodar and Mayan Milagra, the dam of Dancinginherdreams (by Pulpit's son Tapit ), winner of the grade II Pocahontas Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
Bloodstock agent Nick De Meric purchased the colt for Klaravich for $190,000 at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale from the Claiborne Farm consignment. He was an out at Keeneland's April 2-year-old sale. He debuted Aug. 12 at the Spa, drawing clear in a 5 1/2-furlong turf test by an impressive 7 1/2 lengths under Javier Castellano.
Like Due Diligence, most of the field come into the Pilgrim off maiden wins, but a few sport limited stakes form.
The New York-bred Marvin's Miracle ran third behind Bashart at Saratoga Aug. 29 in the With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIT) at the Pilgrim trip. Bashart will be the likely favorite at Keeneland in the Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT), also Oct. 6. Bacon Barn owns the gray/roan colt who broke his maiden at the Spa Aug. 8 on the turf. Bred by Flying Zee Stables, Marvin's Miracle is by the state's leading first-crop sire Cosmonaut, out of Idle Gossip, by Western Expression.
Team Valor International's Captain's Affair, a maiden winner in his native Ireland at first asking in early May, then ran fifth in the seven-furlong Coolmore Canford Cliffs El Gran Senor Stakes at Tipperary. Shipped to North America, Captain's Affair raced on Polytrack Sept. 7 in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III). He finished a well-beaten fourth in the one-mile race; the winner being Solitary Ranger who will perhaps be the favorite in Keeneland's 1 1/16-mile Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) the day before the Pilgrim.
DENN Racing Stable's Otoy, a son of Bernstein, ran fifth in the Laurel Futurity on turf Sept. 21 after breaking his maiden at seven furlongs on the grass at Belmont Sept. 8. Third in that maiden contest is Pilgrim contestant Sheldon.
Other Pilgrim runners of note include a pair from trainer Chad Brown: Klaravich Stables and Lawrence's Shadow Banking, a 6 1/4-length winner Sept. 11 at Belmont at the Pilgrim trip; and Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Bobby's Kitten , a son of top turf sire Kitten's Joy .
Recent winners of the Pilgrim include Noble Tune, a grade III-winning 3-year-old turf performer this spring; Air Support (2010); and Eskendereya, the 2009 winner who won the following year's Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I).
$200,000 Pilgrim Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, Approx. post 5:13 p.m. EDT), 2YO, 1 1/16 miles (turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Marvin's Miracle (NY), L. Saez, J. Coronel
2. Captain's Affair (IRE), C. Velasquez, R. Mettee
3. Sheldon (KY), J. Alvarado, J. Toner
4. Shadow Banking (KY), J. Ortiz, C. Brown
5. Bobby's Kitten (KY), J. Castellano, C. Brown
6. Sandy Point (KY), E. Prado, E. Allard
7. Blue Pigeon (NY), I. Ortiz Jr., C. Clement
8. Otoy (KY), R. Maragh, L. Miranda
9. Due Diligence (KY), J. Lezcano, T. Pletcher
All carry 118 pounds.