Iroquois Kicks Off Stakes Action at Churchill

Iroquois Kicks Off Stakes Action at Churchill
Photo: Barbara Livingston
Todd Pletcher has the Iroquois (gr. 3) morning line favorite in Chitoz.
A pair of good-looking, homebred colts highlight the $150,000 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III), the first graded event of the Churchill Downs Fall Meet, which opens Oct. 28.

A one-mile test for juveniles on the main track, the Iroquois includes a field of 10, all looking for their first career graded stakes victory.

Wertheimer & Frere homebred Chitoz is likely the one to beat, based on the Forest Wildcat colt’s last two performances. After an uninspired debut start on the turf, Chitoz won by 10 1/4-lengths Aug. 23 in a maiden special weight on the Monmouth dirt. He then followed that up with a game defeat in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at Turfway Park last month, losing by just a nose to current Breeders’ Cup Juvenile starter Texas Fever.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Chitoz is out of Affirmed mare Wichitoz. He will leave from post two with John Velazquez aboard.

The other homebred with tons of potential is Mythical Pegasus. Owned and bred by James Spence, Mythical Pegasus has been on the board in three of four starts, including a win in his third career effort, a maiden special weight at Saratoga. On Sept. 15, the son of Fusaichi Pegasus   was very competitive in the Futurity Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont, losing by just 1 1/4 lengths to current Breeders’ Cup Juvenile starters Tale of Ekati and Kodiak Kowboy.

D. Wayne Lukas trains Mythical Pegasus, who is out of the Capote mare Lilly Capote. Robbie Albarado will be the pilot.

Three Iroquois starters looking for their third victory are Little Nick, Sok Sok, and Ben and the Twin. Trained by Dale Romans, Little Nick has already started six times, winning twice and placing in all but two. The son of Tiger Ridge is coming off of a narrow loss to Sok Sok in the Fitz Dixon Memorial Juvenile Stakes at Presque Isle Downs.

Romans will also saddle Halo Najib, who scored in his debut at Keeneland earlier this month.

Sok Sok will carry a race-high 121 pounds based on that latest score. The Florida-bred colt has four starts to his credit, three on the board. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Sok Sok has shown an affinity for stalking the pace.

Ben and the Twin has won two in a row, including his most recent start, a 1 1/4-length victory in an allowance at Keeneland. The son of Storm Boot drew the inside post.

Court Vision, St. Joe, Blackberry Road, and Pulaski Runner complete the field.

$150,000 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, 4:34 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, One Mile
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Ben and the Twin (KY), 119, Jamie Theriot
2. Chitoz (KY), 117, John R. Velazquez
3. Court Vision (KY), 117, Julien R. Leparoux
4. St. Joe (FL), 117, Rafael Bejarano
5. Sok Sok (FL), 121, Shaun Bridgmohan
6. Mythical Pegasus (KY), 117, Robby Albarado
7. Halo Najib (FL), 117, Mark Guidry
8. Blackberry Road (KY), 117, Calvin H. Borel
9. Pulaski Runner (KY), 117, Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.
10. Little Nick (FL), 119, Miguel Mena


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