Though just a $25,000 2-year-old purchase, Piratesonthelake has proven himself a consistent sprinter at both Hawthorne and Arlington Park, winning four races during the year.
Now the bay gelding might get a chance to show his talent on a national stage, as an electrifying victory in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Turfway Park Sept. 29 may have paved his way to the Breeders’ Cup next month.
A 3-year-old son of Lake Austin-Heavenly Pirate, Piratesonthelake prevailed by a nose over Base Commander, who came flying late down the stretch only to get nipped at the wire. Piratesonthelake dueled most of the stretch with pacesetter Stormin Baghdad, who was only a neck back in the three-way photo finish.
Midnight Cry Stables’s Stormin Baghdad jumped to the lead from post 3, set quick fractions of :21.79 and :44.76 in the six-furlong test and held a three-length advantage at the top of the lane. Piratesonthelake rated well, staying just off the pace before making his four-wide move under jockey Diego Sanchez as the field of 11 turned for home. Those two battled for most of the stretch, with Stormin Baghdad on the inside holding a short advantage until the 16th pole. It wasn’t until late in the stretch that Chris DeCarlo and Base Commander came charging on the outside.
“He ran a great race," said Sanchez. "He broke well and there was a lot of speed in front of him. Even when horses came to him late, I always thought we would win.”
The win was Piratesonthelake’s first graded stakes victory. Previously, he had captured five victories in 11 career starts, including the Arlington Sprint Handicap Aug. 25. Piratesonthelake, bred in Florida by Sunrise Stable South, has now earned over $200,000 in his career.
Piratesonthelake was purchased by Gregg Didech’s B Jock Racing at the OBS 2006 spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. He is trained by James DiVito, who said the $2-million TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park is a possibility.
“He’s a horse that can run either way," said DiVito. "He’s shown he could rate all along. He just has enough speed that he can easily make lead. We’re on the fence about the Breeders’ Cup. It’s a possibility, but it’s also a lot of money since he’s not nominated.”
Going off at odds of 2-1, the winner paid $6. The exacta (8-10) with Base Commander was worth $21.60. Stormin Baghdad filled out a $343.60 trifecta (8-10-3).
The final time was 1:09.09 on Polytrack.