Juddmonte Farms homebred Flintshire had plenty of excuses not to win the $250,000 Bowling Green Stakes (gr. IIT) but didn't need to use any of them as he overcame a slow pace and trouble in the final turn to win the 1 3/8-mile race July 30 on the inner turf at Saratoga Race Course.
With just four starters after the scratch of Danish Dynaformer, grade II winner Grand Tito and jockey Jose Ortiz enjoyed a clear lead through slow early fractions of :26.53 for the first quarter and :53.14 for a half-mile in the three-turn test. Grand Tito carried his clear advantage into the final turn and Flintshire, who was saving ground throughout under Javier Castellano, suddenly found himself in trouble in the short field.
With Flintshire unable to get out from the inside, Can'thelpbelieving (IRE) got first crack at the frontrunner and grade I winner Twilight Eclipse moved up from last, keeping odds-on favorite Flintshire bottled up and clearly full of run turning for home.
Last of four in early stretch, Flintshire finally was able to run. He quickly accelerated in the center of the course, then sailed past his three rivals—catching Grand Tito last—and pulled away in-hand to about a three-quarter-length victory, completing 1 3/8 miles in 2:18.24 on firm turf. Grand Tito held second, followed by Twilight Eclipse and Can'thelpbelieving.
Winning trainer Chad Brown, who secured his second Bowling Green win in four years, credited Castellano for maintaining his poise. Castellano would secure his third Bowling Green win in four years.
"When Twilight Eclipse made the move, they all went. [Javier Castellano] had to make a decision to clear him and get him from the outside and get him home," Brown said. "I was concerned. I could clearly see that the jockeys—and they have the right to ride against him and he [Javier] had him in a tough spot. Javier showed a lot of poise and didn't panic. The horse ran terrific. He is a true champion."
With his latest eye-catching win, Flintshire improved to two-for-two on the season and two-for-two in a pair of graded stakes on turf at Saratoga. The 6-year-old Dansili horse opened the year with a clear victory in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan (gr. IT) June 11 on the inner turf at Belmont Park and last year on the inner turf at Saratoga won the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (gr. IT).
Flintshire returned $2.20 to win and $2.10 to place, while Grand Tito paid $3 to place. There was no show wagering offered because of the short field.
Trained by Chad Brown, the back-to-back wins could help Flintshire build some momentum, as it marks the first time he's won back-to-back races since 2013. A winner of the 2014 Hong Kong Vase (HK-I) among his three grade I/group I wins, Flintshire has finished second in many of the world's biggest races, including runner-up finishes in the past two editions of the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triopmhe (Fr-I), the 2014 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), last year's Hong Kong Vase, and the 2015 Dubai Sheema Classic presented by Longines (UAE-I).
Bred in England, Flintshire is out of group II winner Dance Routine by Sadler's Wells. He is a brother to multiple stakes winner Dance Moves.