Xanadu Gets the Job Done at Te Aroha

Placed five times at the group I level in New Zealand, Block Partnership's Xanadu broke through for her first stakes win April 6 in the $200,000 Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (NZ-I) at Te Aroha.

The 4-year-old Elusive City mare raced near the back of the 11-horse field early before jockey Michael Coleman angled her wide to better ground. She uncoiled a burst of speed in the straight to win the 1,600-meter (about one mile) test by 1 1/4 lengths from Twilight Granita. Diademe finished another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Xanadu was timed in 1:39.42 on turf rated as dead while winning for the fifth time in 14 career starts. She had been knocking on the door of a first stakes victory, placing second or third six times, including five placings at the group I level. Most recently she finished second to Final Touch in the Waikato Draught Sprint (NZ-I) Feb. 9. She came into the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes off a seventh-place finish in the Westbury Classic (NZ-III) March 3 at Ellerslie.

"It was always there, she had been beaten by good horses like Ocean Park (in the Makfi Challenge [NZ-I] last September) and Final Touch and we knew her turn would come when things went her way," Ken Kelso, who trains the filly with his wife, Bev, told the New Zealand Herald.

Bred in New Zealand by Little Avondale Trust, Xanadu is the 25th stakes winner for French-based sire Elusive City. She is out of the winning Forest Glow mare Forest Dream. Her grandam is Australian group I winner India's Dream.