Silverton Hill’s homebred Havelock took advantage of blazing opening fractions, coming from off the pace to tally his third stakes win of the season in the $150,000 Woodford (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) Oct. 8 at Keeneland.
The 4-year-old son of Great Notion overtook Perfect Officer in the final 100 yards to win by one length in a stellar final time of 1:01.96 for 5 1/2 furlongs on the firm turf course, which was just one-fifth of a second off the track record. He was ridden to victory by Robby Albarado.
Darrin Miller trains Havelock, a Maryland-bred gelding who won for the fourth time in nine starts in 2011. He is out of the Spectacular Love mare Piconeach.
Sent off at 5-1 in a strong field of 12, Havelock broke last and though he recovered quickly was still eighth after Varsity breezed an opening quarter mile in :21.15. Varsity, Magoo, and favored Great Mills were barely separated after a lightning-quick half mile in :43.88, and when they came off the turn those three were still together, along with Great Attack and Perfect Officer, who wound up taking the lead in mid-stretch.
Perfect Officer, runner-up in the Turf Monster Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Parx Racing Sept. 5, was in the clear under Kendrick Carmouche, but Havelock had already unleashed his rallying four-wide move entering the stretch and with a quick turn of foot reeled in the leader in the late stages to record his third win in his last four tries.
Perfect Officer settled for second, three-quarters of a length in front of 11-1 Country Day and James Graham. Uno Ducksy was fourth at 55-1.
“He left a little tardy," Albarado said. "We anticipated being right behind the pace; not that far back. Having said that, they went quick enough, which was conducive to his running style. (At the top of the stretch) I didn’t think I could get there as quick as I did. He’s a nice horse, tremendous turn of foot. I swung him to the outside, and he ran by them.”
Havelock won the Arlington Sprint Handicap in July and the Play the King (Can-IIT) at Woodbine in August for his first two stakes triumphs. He was seventh on the Turfway Park Polytrack in the Kentucky Cup (gr. II) in his last start on Sept. 24.
The Woodford earned Havelock his sixth win from 14 lifetime starts and upped his earnings $366,154.
The winner paid $12.40, $6, and $4.60. The exacta (5-9) returned $71.20 and the trifecta (5-9-2) was worth $664.80.