by Karen M. Johnson
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin enjoyed a big upset in winning the Sept. 29 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park against a stellar field with Lahudood. McLaughlin’s less surprising winner earlier on the card, Etched, posted an equally impressive effort in his career debut.
Etched, a 6 3/4-length winner as the 7-5 favorite, could be bound for the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Monmouth Park Oct. 27. McLaughlin also mentioned the $100,000 Nashua Stakes (gr. III), one day later at Aqueduct, as a possible target for the Darley-owned homebred.
“The two logical spots are the Breeders’ Cup or the Nashua,” McLaughlin said. “I’m not really leaning toward one or the other, but maybe more toward the Nashua. I will speak to all the people at Darley before making a decision.”
Etched, who was ridden by Alan Garcia, covered six furlongs in 1:09.72 over a fast track. Close to the early pace, Etched scooted away from his six rivals in upper stretch and quickly left everyone in his wake. He covered the final furlong in 12.69 seconds.
Etched is by Forestry, out of Unbridled Elaine, a daughter of Unbridled’s Song. Etched is the first foal out of Unbridled Elaine, a grade I winner of more than $1.7 million.
McLaughlin said Etched’s win, unlike Lahudood’s, came as no surprise to him, as the colt had been training forwardly for his debut.
Etched displayed his immaturity following his win in the six-furlong maiden special weight when he gave Garcia a difficult time coming back to the unsaddling area. Etched wheeled and headed for the gap on the main track that leads back to his barn, his customary exit during training hours.
“He’s very talented, but with a teenager’s mind,” McLaughlin said Sept. 30. “He is difficult to train and we do use the pony a lot in the mornings with him.”
McLaughlin confirmed Sept. 30 that Lahudood would be supplemented for $180,000 to run in the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Filly and Mare Turf at Monmouth Oct. 27.
Lahudood wasn’t on the original list of nominees to the Flower Bowl, and McLaughlin was thinking of running the Shadwell-owned filly in a second-level allowance race. But when Makderah, who is also owned by Shadwell, sustained an injury and couldn’t run in the Flower Bowl, McLaughlin secured an invitation for Lahudood.
“It’s really pretty wild that here we are talking about the Breeders’ Cup, because I didn’t imagine that before her win in the Flower Bowl, a race I didn’t think we were going to run in. It’s amazing how things go,” he said.