Albaugh Family Stable and Brereton Jones' Dak Attack took full advantage of a fast pace and closed from sixth to score his first stakes victory in the $75,000 Ellis Park Juvenile going seven furlongs Aug. 20 at the Henderson, Ky. track.
With 11 2-year-olds leaving the gate, Dak Attack and jockey Robby Albarado emerged from the outside post to settle behind the leaders, and just behind the heavy favorite Ten City, who raced in fifth. Make Noise clipped off swift fractions of :21.65 and :44.70 through the first half-mile.
Dak Attack and Ten City moved up together late on the backstretch, and as the field rounded the turn for home, 81-1 longshot Northern Trail took over the lead, but Dak Attack was full of run on the outside and swept by near the sixteenth pole to pull away by three lengths at the wire. The Ghostzapper colt, trained by Dale Romans, completed the distance in 1:22.96.
Northern Trail held for second, while Ten City got up for third.
"I had a great trip," Albarado said. "Historically you wouldn't prefer the outside post, but circumstances with 2-year-olds, the second start, I was able to let the race unfold in front of me and I wasn't committed to any spot on the track. I got my sights on Ten City. I got to draft next to him, pulling with him around there, matching strides, and turning for home I tried to pull away from him. And he did."
Dak Attack won his debut at Churchill Downs June 15 and adds the stakes victory to his résumé in just his second start.
"He had to go wide. He got some dirt in his face. He did everything he's supposed to do," Romans said. "And he also ran fast, which is good. He's doing everything his namesake did. He's a rookie like (Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott) was last year, yet he's the star of our show."
Bred by Jones, Dak Attack is out of the Indian Charlie mare Indian Spell. His second dam is the breeder's 2008 champion 3-year-old filly Proud Spell. Dak Attack was purchased at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale by Albaugh Family Stable for $625,000 from the Jones/Aidrie Stud consignment.
"We knew that horse was bred right, and he did the right things in the race," said co-owner Dennis Albaugh. "We were very happy with him. He's a strong one coming into this next season."
The colt paid $6.20, $4.60, and $2.80 across the board, while Northern Trail returned $54.60 and $13.20 to place. Ten City returned $2.10 to show.
One race prior, 10 juvenile fillies battled in the $75,000 Ellis Park Debutante also at seven furlongs.
At odds of 11-1, Kelly's Humor picked up her first stakes victory in just her second start. She outran favored Upset Brewing by a length. The daughter of Midnight Lute completed the distance in 1:24.63.
The filly is trained by Brad Cox for Ike and Dawn Thrash. She was bred by Chappell Alpine Farm in Kentucky.
The 8-5 second-choice, Sunny Skies, finished third.