Andrew Farm's Duveen opened up a daylight lead in the final furlong of Friday's $188,700 Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) for 3-year-olds, then held off the California invader Whatsthescript to win by a half-length under threatening skies at Churchill Downs.
The 1 1/16-mile test was contested over a yielding turf course. Jazz Quest, with Duveen and jockey Mark Guidry in close attendance, set a slow pace with fractions of :24.70, :50.09 and 1:14.98, before Duveen drew even in upper stretch. Duveen took control coming away from the eighth pole and was hard ridden to the wire as an unlucky Whatsthescript closed quickly in the final strides of the race. Jazz Quest checked in third, another half-length behind, with 5-2 favorite Marcavelly fourth.
Going off at odds of 9-2 in the American Turf, Duveen came into the race off a nose victory in the March 24 Palm Beach (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park, and has now won three in a row since breaking his maiden on the Gulfstream grass Feb. 21. Duveen finished the American Turf in 1:44.03 to post his third career win in seven starts. Duveen banked $111,146 for Richard Brodie’s Andrew Farm to increase his lifetime earnings to $203,640. Since moving to the turf, Duveen has posted a record of 3-1-0 in four starts.
Guidry, who has been aboard for all three of Duveen's triumphs, said, "He was fresh today and he was really pumped up in the post parade. I tried to keep him as relaxed as possible and when we turned for home, he really exploded for me. I think he has a great future.”
Dale Romans trains Duveen, a son of Horse Chestnut who was bred by Brodie, Robert Scanlon and James Buckley in Kentucky. Duveen is out of Casanova Storm, by Storm Cat.
Romans, discussing the soft going, said, “I didn’t know if it would help him or hurt him and obviously it didn’t hurt him. As for what’s next, I’m not sure. We will have to talk about it.”
Sent off as the third choice, Duveen returned $11.20, $6.20, and $5.20 in his first start on the Churchill grass.
Whatsthescript, with Isaias Enriquez aboard, was forced to take up at the half-mile marker and also had to alter course five wide at the top of the stretch, but rallied late to take the place spot and paid $5.40 and $4.20. The Doug O'Neill trained Irish-bred had won all three of his starts on grass in Southern California, including a grade III.
“Horrible trip," Enriquez said. "I just started bouncing. The horse that won, he has a very good turn of foot. I couldn’t get to there in time. There were several factors against my horse today.”
Jazz Quest, with Julien Leparoux up, finished a half-length back in third and paid $7.40.
It was a a half-length to Marcavelly, ridden by Edgar Prado. They were followed by Distorted Reality, Top Cross, Birdbirdistheword, Royal War Academy, Delightful Kiss and Cobrador. Imawildandcrazyguy, set to start in Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), was scratched.
Bill Mott, trainer of Marcavelly, said the crowd of more than 100,000 might have caused the favorite problems. "He was very rank and wouldn’t settle for Edgar," Mott said. "He was more anxious than we would have liked him to be. Edgar had to muscle him back early.”