Castledale Masters 'Meadows Turf in SF Mile

Grade I winner Castledale shot through an opening between horses to the lead in the $111,250 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) and held on for a narrow victory over Adreamisborn Saturday on the Bay Meadows turf.

Sent off as the 3-2 choice in field of nine, the 4-year-old Castledale recorded his first win since taking the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) more than a year ago. The 14th-place finisher in last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) had lost four races in a row since then, three of those coming in 2005.

Ridden by Rene Douglas, the Irish-bred Castledale came off the rail to find room between tiring pacesetters Night Patrol and Imitation in upper stretch, seized the lead and, under strong handling, held off Adreamisborn and Russell Baze by a half-length in 1:37 2/5 on a firm course.

Adreamisborn was in a solid striking position throughout, closing from the outside strongly, but he could not get by the winner.

Castledale was running fifth along the inside when Douglas called upon him.

"He's amazing," said Douglas. "He's like Mr. Ed - he's so smart you expect him to talk. He's got so much class. He's got a short kick but it's a good one. Timing is what it's all about with this horse, and everything went perfect today.

"He's not the type of horse that's going to win by 10 (lengths)," continued Douglas. "He likes to wait on horses, so you've got to measure him. I waited as long as I could before asking him. I felt confident the whole time. This horse doesn't take long to get through a hole, about half a second. Hopefully we'll go far with this horse."

Aly Bubba finished third at odds of 52-1, another 3 1/2 lengths behind, while 5-2 second choice Terroplane finished fourth, a head back, after rallying mildly from sixth place.

Night Patrol and Imitation carved tepid fractions – :25 2/5, :49 3/5, and 1:13 3/5 – before Castledale and Adreamisborn took over.

Jeff Mullins trains the winner, who was returned to the lawn March 17 in his last start, a second-place finish by a head in an optional claiming/allowance heat at Santa Anita. Earlier this year, he ran fifth in both the San Fernando Breeders' Cup (gr. II) and Strub (gr. II). Castledale won the Generous (gr. IIIT) on the grass at Santa Anita, the race that launched the bay son of Peintre Celebre on the Triple Crown trail.

The victory, Castledale's fourth in 15 starts in a career that started in Ireland, improved his earnings to $634,623 with Saturday's winning share of $55,000. Greg Knee and Frank Lyons own the winner.

"We paid under $200,000, which I thought was a great value," said Lyons, who as a trainer won the 1995 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) with the filly Desert Stormer.

Castledale, who earned $55,000 for the SF Mile victory, has turned out to be quite a bargain as he has made $585,000 in eight U.S. starts. Lyons has high hopes for the bay son of Arc de Triomphe winner Peintre Celebre

"I'd love to run him in the Arlington Million," said Lyons, referring to the prestigious grade I turf race that will be run Aug. 13 at Arlington Park near Chicago.

Castledale paid $5, $3.20. and $2.60. Adreamisborn, who was coming off a win by a head in the Stanford Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) March 19 at Bay Meadows, returned $3.80 and $2.60. Alybubba, who stalked throughout, was around at the end to pick up the show, paying $7.40.

After Terroplane came Night Patrol, Imitation, Night Bokbel, Private Chef, and Gold Ruckus.

Imitation broke through the gate just before the race was to start and had to be reloaded.

(Chart, Equibase)