Data Link notched his second straight graded stakes victory in his 2013 debut when he got up in come-from-behind fashion and prevailed by a length over Joes Blazing Aaron in the Feb. 23 Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park (VIDEO).
Trained by Shug McGaughey for Stuart Janney III, 5-year-old Data Link, the heavy favorite with jockey Javier Castellano aboard, came into the one-mile turf contest off a 2 1/4-length score in the Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) Nov. 23. He also won the 2012 Maker's 46 Mile Stakes (gr. IT) and Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIT).
Global Power had the early lead in the Canadian Turf, which had fractional splits of :23.26, :46.98, and 1:09.51. Data Link, who bested Joes Blazing Aaron in the final strides, rallied three wide around the far turn and won under a hand ride. He completed the $150,000 contest in 1:33.01 over firm going.
In all, the bay horse holds a record of 8-1-1 from 16 starts, for earnings of $763,835.
"He's just a good horse," said McGaughey of Data Link. "He had to go outside, but he's just better than these horses. We know it'll get tougher for him as we go along. He couldn't have trained any better at Payson (Park) this winter with one good breeze after another. We'll probably go back to Keeneland for the Maker's Mark again. Long term, I'd like to have him for the Breeders' Cup Mile later in the year. I think he's that kind."
Joes Blazing Aaron, ridden by John Velazquez, was runner-up by a half length, followed by Beau Choix in third. Completing the order of finish was Za Approval, Empire Builder, Global Power, Howe Great, Cash Rules, Scatman, and Night Party. Gourmet Dinner was entered for the main track only.
"He ran a great race," said trainer Eddie Kenneally of Joes Blazing Aaron. "It was a grade I horse that beat us by a neck or half length. Johnny gave him an excellent ride, we were just second best."
Data Link paid $4.20, $2.80, and $2.40, while Joes Blazing Aaron returned $7.40 and $4.60. Beau Choix paid $4.20 to show.
Bred in Kentucky by Janney, Data Link is by War Front , out of the Known Fact mare Database.