Circular Quay Takes Rail to Bashford Manor Win

(from Churchill Downs report)
Unbeaten Circular Quay, the fifth winner of the day ridden by jockey Rafael Bejarano, shot through a narrow gap along the rail in deep stretch and drew off to a 1 ¼-length victory in Saturday's $166,500 Bashford Manor (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

The winner, the 6-5 favorite in a field of eight, covered six furlongs in 1:09.96 over a "fast" track and paid $4.40, $3 and $2.20. Shermanesque, a son of 2000 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus  ridden by Brice Blanc, had the lead between calls in the stretch after rallying four wide. He held on for second and paid $7 and $4.20, three-quarters of a length in front of Run Alex Run (John McKee), who paid $2.80.

The Michael Tabor-owned Circular Quay, a son of Tabor's 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch bred by Doreen Tabor, won for the second time in as many starts and the winner's share of the purse ($100,134) boosted his career earnings to $131,434. He had won his previous start at Churchill Downs over maiden special weight foes by 6 ¼ lengths. It was the second Bashford Manor victory for Pletcher, who took the race in 2003 with Dogwood Stable's Limehouse.

"He's only had two races, but he's gotten a ton out of those two races," said Mike McCarthy, the assistant trainer who oversees Pletcher's Churchill Downs stable. "Obviously, he knows how to win. There was room on the fence and he went for it, and we'll take the win."

The race got off to an eventful start as previously unbeaten Chace City, who broke from the rail post, jumped a portion of temporary rail placed near the starting gate and veered into the gap where the first turn connects to the backstretch.

Teuflesberg, a 41-1 shot, scrambled to the early lead with Pegasus Wind, who was making his career debut for five-time Bashford Manor-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas, in closest pursuit. The leader took the field through the opening quarter in :21.65 and the half-mile in :45.08.

Circular Quay, seventh in the early going, started to work his way through the field but was forced to steady in traffic on the far turn and swung to the outside for clear running. Teuflesberg still led at midstretch as Run Alex Run and Shermanesque rallied strongly to his outside and Pegasus Wind began to tire. Circular Quay, still fifth with a furlong to run, veered toward the inside for his late charge. Blanc urged Shermanesque to a narrow advantage over Run Alex Run in the final eighth, but Bejarano guided Circular Quay through along the rail and got clear for the victory.

"He tried to go to the rail, and he was scared a little bit with the other horses," said Bejarano. "So I tried to put him in the best position. The last eighth, I tried to put him to the rail and in five jumps he was in the lead."

"I thought I had it, the other colt just outran me today," said Blanc. "It was just his second race, he's improving, and I think he'll keep improving. He has the right mental attitude."

Teuflesberg held on for fourth and was followed by Pegasus Wind, Chace City, Elite Squadron, and Mister Cugat.

(Chart, Equibase)