Sioux Nation wins the 2017 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes

Sioux Nation wins the 2017 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes


O'Brien Claims 16th Phoenix Stakes With Sioux Nation

Trainer has won the six-furlong group 1 sprint in four consecutive years.

Sioux Nation got first run to the lead in the late going of the Aug. 13 Keeneland Phoenix (G1) at the Curragh in Ireland and held off the favorite, Beckford, by a half-length length for the victory.

Actress was along for third in the important early test for 2-year-olds, which was won last year by another U.S.-bred, Caravaggio.

Sioux Nation, with jockey Ryan Moore returning from Arlington International Racecourse's International Festival of Racing Aug. 13 to retain the mount for trainer Aidan O'Brien and Coolmore partners, was away a bit slowly in the Phoenix. But the Scat Daddy colt closed quickly on the far side of the eight-horse field as stablemate U S Navy Flag made the early going under Donnacha O'Brien.

Sioux Nation hit the lead a furlong out, while Beckford was a bit late to get going on the stands side and was left with too much to do at the end. The Bated Breath colt, a winner in his two previous starts, was gaining but fell a half-length short. The final time was 1:11.72 for the six-furlong test over the good-to-firm turf. 

Sioux Nation, bred in Kentucky by Fethard Bloodstock, took three tries to find the winner's enclosure. He broke through at Cork May 19 and was a well-beaten sixth over yielding turf at the Curragh just eight days later, but returned June 22 to win the group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot over firm going.

O'Brien gave the colt a short breather after that, pointed him toward the Phoenix, and was rewarded with his fourth straight win in the race and 16th overall.

The trainer said he is not yet sure whether to try to tack on a furlong to the Phoenix victory and return Sioux Nation for the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (G1) Sept. 10 at the Curragh, which the trainer won last year with Churchill, or to try the Juddmonte Middle Park (G1) at Newmarket Sept. 30 at the same six-furlong distance.

Experienced globetrotter Moore had a better result Sunday than from his Chicago trip, where he finished third aboard the favorite, Deauville, in the Arlington Million XXXV Stakes (G1T), eighth on Rain Goddess in the Beverly D. Stakes (G1T), and second in the Secretariat Stakes (G1T) riding Taj Mahal, all of those mounts for O'Brien.