The Kentucky-bred son of Discreet Cat–Top Marks, by Marquetry, is trained by John Robb, who celebrated his first win at Churchill. The 2-year-old colt is owned by Tim O’Donohue and was bred by Brandywine Farm.
Heavy rain and lightning delayed the start of the six-furlong Bashford Manor, the year's first open stakes for 2-year-olds, for approximately 14 minutes. Horses circled the paddock until the severe weather pass through the area. Seven horses went to the post on a soupy main track.
While the initial break was good, Sandbar, with the spring meet’s leading rider Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, stumbled about two jumps out of the gate and was out of contention.
My Corinthian grabbed the early lead and took the field through a blistering :20.93 opening quarter-mile and a half-mile in :44.57. Hollywood Talent stalked the leader while Debt Ceiling fell back to a couple of lengths off the leaders down the backstretch.
Approaching the turn, jockey Eric Camacho hit the accelerator and Debt Ceiling roared passed the frontrunners, taking what would be an uncontested and widening lead. Debt Ceiling ran five furlongs in :56.79 to open up by six lengths and stopped the timer at 1:10.66. He won by 2 3/4 lengths.
"We've always known this horse has had talent," Camacho said. "The plan today was to let the two speed horses (My Corinthian and Hollywood Talent) go and sit off them. So I just sat back and took my time. When it was time to go, he told me when to go. I passed them so fast. I was a little worried that I moved too early, but I had so much horse that when it was time to go I had to go."
Hollywood Talent , with John Velazquez, wore down My Corinthian, ridden by Luis Garcia, in deep stretch and took second by 2 1/2 lengths. Runkle, D'cajun Cat, Gun Roar, and Sandbar rounded out the order of finish.
O'Donohue described the win as priceless.
"This is my second stakes horse, but I have a feeling this is going to be the best horse I've ever owned, said the 50 year old businessman from Parkland, Fla. He has owned racehorses for 30 years.
Debt Ceiling paid $12.40, $5.40, and $4.20 as the third choice in the field of seven juveniles. Hollywood Talent paid $4 and $3.20, while My Corinthian paid $5.20. The $2 exacta paid $48.80, and the $2 trifecta paid $80.75.
Only Debt Ceiling had stakes experience heading into the Bashford Manor. The colt broke his maiden by 4 1/2 lengths March 30 at Laurel Park, then won the Rollicking Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths May 18. Camacho has ridden him both times.
"The first race, I didn't expect him to win," said Robb, who is based in Maryland. "He did it on raw talent. The last two races, we went in feeling very confident. There were really no other races on the East Coast for him. This was the closest around and I'm glad we came."
Robb said he expects to ship Debt Ceiling to Saratoga Race Course for his next start.