Shakhimat went galloping merrily along on the front end in the early stages of the $100,000 Transylvania Presented by Keeneland Select (gr. IIIT), ears pricked under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson.
The two were on a raiding trip from Canada for Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, and when it came time to sprint away down the lane, the 3-year-old colt had plenty left.
"I had quite a bit of horse turning for home," said Wilson, who has ridden Shakhimat in all of his races. "I thought unless somebody comes with a rapid swoop where he wasn't able to see them, they wouldn't be able to creep their way by him."
The dark bay son of Lonhro made his season debut in the 1 1/16-mile Transylvania and claimed a 3 1/4-length win after taking the Nov. 8 Coronation Futurity at Woodbine by 9 3/4 lengths to close out his 2-year-old season. He picked up his first graded score for owners Richard Hogan and Dan Gale and pushed his record to three wins and a third from four starts.
"I thought getting the lead was definitely going to be in our wheelhouse," said Wilson, who walked the dog through fractions of :23.54, :47.84, and 1:12.61 before sprinting away for home. "Looking through the Form, we were the only legitimate pace. The last time he ran, he put up a quick opening quarter and was on the lead. But he settled back and was in my hands. I knew if I had the same kind of trip today, it would be a similar kind of effort."
Shakhimat finished a 1:36.67 mile en route to a final time of 1:42.65 on good turf, paying $14.20, $6.60, and $5 across the board at odds of 6-1. Closing from fifth in the final furlong was J R 's Holiday, who paid $6.20 and $4.20. Inspector Lynley ($3.80) was third, while Converge, Catapult, One Mean Man, Prime Time Man, and Sorryaboutnothing completed the order of finish.
Bred in Ontario by Adena Springs out of the Touch Gold mare Reggae Rose, Shakhimat was a $60,000 purchase by Hogan from the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-olds in training sale when consigned by Adena Springs' agency.
"He'd been breezing really good at Payson Park," said assistant trainer Patrick Dixon. "He's matured really well... He shipped well here and he'd been training really well."