Bridgetown gets up late to win the Woodford. <br><a target="blank" href="!i=2132359813&k=nhLsb63">Order This Photo</a>

Bridgetown gets up late to win the Woodford.
Order This Photo

Mathea Kelley

Bridgetown Grinds Out Woodford Win

Son of Speightstown wins turf sprint as odds-on favorite at Keeneland Oct. 6.

Bridgetown earned his first graded stakes win since 2009 when he ground out a one-length advantage in the $150,000 Woodford Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 6 at Keeneland (VIDEO).

The 5-year-old son of Speightstown  came off an Aug. 15 score in the Troy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course to cover 5 1/2 furlongs on the firm Keeneland turf in 1:02.55 under jockey Javier Castellano for Eugene Melnyk's Melnyk Racing Stables and trainer Todd Pletcher. Great Mills was second and Chamberlain Bridge finished a half-length farther back in third.

"A race this short, we thought Javier could do whatever he thought best," said Michael Dilger, assistant to Pletcher. "He knows the horse well; he's ridden him plenty of times before. I think he rode a great race."

Castellano kept Bridgetown, the 3-5 favorite in a six-horse field, settled into a railside stalking position third behind dueling leaders Great Mills and Ginplay. Great Mills went the first quarter mile in :21.67 and the half in :44.53 while Ginplay, off slowly from the one hole at the start, dashed up to challenge, racing a half-length leader to the stretch.

Bridgetown found running room in the two path and set sail in pursuit as Great Mills turned for home wth a narrow advantage. The eventual winner slowly cut into the frontrunner's lead coming down the stretch, and passed his rival with less than a furlong to go, edging away approaching the wire. 

"It was a beautiful trip; it worked out great for me," Castellano said. "My horse didn't break that sharp. I took my time on the backside... He settled beautifully behind the leaders and when I asked him he responded so well. He got it done."

Bridgetown returned $3.40, $2.20, and $2.10 while Great Mills paid $3.60 and $2.60. Chamberlain Bridge returned $2.20. Wekiva Wachee, Icon Ike, and Ginplay completed the order of finish. Will's Wildcat scratched.

A Florida homebred out of the Tabasco Cat mare Ellesmere, Bridgeplay increased his earnings to $934,700 from 19 starts, with a 9-5-1 record. He won the Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT) as a 2-year-old in 2009, the same year he finished second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park.