Mongolian Saturday, winner of last year’s TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT) returned to Keeneland to take the $150,000 Woodford Presented by Keeneland Select Stakes (gr. IIIT). The 6-year-old son of Any Given Saturday covered the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.46.
Making his first start of the year in the U.S. after racing in Hong Kong and in a pair of races in England, Mongolian Saturday broke from post 12 in the Woodford and was quickly right on the early pace set by Shogood and Bucchero, who battled on the front end through an opening quarter of :21.75 and a half in a crisp :44.64.
Jockey Carlos Montalvo asked and Mongolian Saturday quickly responded by opening up on his 11 rivals in mid-stretch while making a three-wide move, hitting five furlongs in :56.90. He held off the late run of Hogy, who was next to last early, to win. Front Pocket Money and Galton finished in a dead-heat for third.
The slight 4-1 favorite in the field, Mongolian Saturday paid $10.80, $6, and $4.40. Hogy paid $7.80 and $4.60. Front Pocket Money returned $5 and Galton paid $5. The $2 exacta (1-7) returned $69.40.
The winner, who is now bound for a return run at the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park, is owned by Ganbaatar Dagvadorj’s Mongolian Stable and is trained by Enebish Ganbat. Mongolian Saturday, bred by Normandy Farm, is out of Miss Hot Salsa, by Houston. His 2-year-old half sister, Daddys Lil Darling, ran second in yesterday’s Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) for Normandy Farm.
Mongolian Saturday was second in last year’s Woodford that was taken off the turf prior to the Breeders’ Cup.
Alsvid scratched, having run fourth in the previous day’s Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (gr. II) on the main track.