Battling with pacesetter Karelian through the stretch, Court Vision poked his nose in front just before the wire to win a thriller in the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) Oct. 10 at Keeneland. It was the first win in six tries this season for the 4-year-old son of Gulch, who will now go on to the Breeders' Cup.
It was the second grade I win on the card for Court Vision's owner, IEAH Stables, who sent out Informed Decision to win the First Lady (gr. IT) two races prior. Trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., Court Vision is also owned by Resolute Group Stables.
Though Court Vision was winless this season, IEAH president Mike Iavarone came into the Turf Mile with renewed hopes. The horse underwent surgery to remove a “high-channeled testicle” on July 23, just weeks after a sixth-place effort in the United Nations (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park. Iavarone said the ridgling had trained very well up to the Oct. 3 Kelso Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont, but when the race was moved to the main track due to rain, he was shipped to Keeneland.
In the Turf Mile, Court Vision raced close to the pace under Robby Albarado, sitting perfectly in a three-wide position while Karelian took the field of seven through the early going. Sent off at 10-1, Karelian was guided through splits of :25.40, :50.45, and 1:14.99 on the soft turf under Rajiv Maragh.
Tizdejavu was closest to the leader through six furlongs, but Court Vision moved closer from a five-wide position around the turn and came up to challenge Karelian at the eighth-pole. Karelian was game throughout the stretch, holding a narrow advantage most of the way from the inside until Court Vision wore him down in the final steps.
The final time was 1:38.68. Karelian finished 5 3/4 lengths in front of third place Mr. Sidney.
After the race, Iavarone said Court Vision would be pointed toward the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) Nov. 7 at Santa Anita. The dark bay earned an automatic berth into the race.
“You buy horses for days like this,” Iavarone said. “This is a dream come true and we’re just happy to be a part of it.”
Albarado said he also expected the horse to turn in a big effort.
“He was very close (to the pace) for him, doing it easy,” Albarado said. “I figured the fractions were slow and I knew this horse would finish up big, and he did. He faced some quality horses in the past, including Gio Ponti. He’s got quite a bit of back class.”
Court Vision, who is out of the Storm Bird mare Weekend Bird, turned in his best performances of the season in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs, placing third in each race. Last year, he won the Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) and Hollywood Derby (gr. IT).
Overall, Court Vision is 6-2-4 from 18 starts with earnings of $1,477,430. He was bred in Kentucky by William S. Farish and Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnerships.
Sent off as the third choice, Court Vision paid $11.60, $5.80, and $4.40. The exacta (9-4) paid $130 and the trifecta (9-4-2) was $527.60.
Battle of Hastings was fourth, followed by Sterwins, 7-5 favorite Justenuffhumor, and Tizdejavu.