Zoffany Paints Winning Portrait in Phoenix

Zoffany came storming home late to take the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) Aug. 8.

Zoffany came charging with a late run under Johnny Murtagh to capture the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) for 2-year-olds by a half-length at the Curragh Aug. 8.

Sent off as the second choice by the betting public, Zoffany was held up in last as stablemate Snow Mountain went to the front to set the early pace. Jockey Richard Hughes had heavily-favored Strong Suit placed prominently during the early stages, running along just off the lead.

At the two-furlong marker Strong Suit made his move and quickly shot past Snow Mountain. Strong Suit appeared ready to take command of the race, but he couldn’t shake free of Glor Na Mara, who moved alongside to challenge for the lead.

In the meantime, Murtagh had Zoffany under a strong drive from the back, and the pair split the leading duo inside the final furlong and edged in front for the victory. Glor Na Mara just got up for second to nail Strong Suit by a short head on the wire.

Final time for the six furlongs was 1:11.29 over a yielding turf course.

Winning trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has won 11 of the past 13 runnings of the Phoenix, said after the race, “He went to Ascot as a baby and it all happened a little bit too fast for him. We stepped him up in trip so things would happen a bit slower.

“The plan was to get him relaxed and Johnny was very cool on him and gave him a great ride.”

Zoffany has improved his record to five wins in six starts.  His lone defeat came in the Coventry Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot, when he finished sixth behind Strong Suit.

Zoffany, who was bred in Ireland by Epona Bloodstock, is owned by Michael Tabor. Zoffany is by Dansili out of Tyranny, by Machiavellian.