Scotus Rallies to Score Matt Winn
Peter Callahan’s Scotus made a winning stakes debut June 18 when he took over inside the sixteenth-pole to score by one length in the $138,500 Matt Winn (gr. III) (VIDEO) for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
Scotus, a son of Successful Appeal , covered 1 1/16 miles on the good dirt in 1:44.12 under Alan Garcia. He is trained by the red-hot Ken McPeek, who one race later would win the Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) with Bizzy Caroline and has won the last five Churchill graded stakes that he has entered at Churchill.
Bred in Kentucky by Mike Rutherford and out of the Seattle Slew mare Devine, Scotus entered the race off a runner-up allowance effort June 5 at Churchill. He also placed in two other allowance tilts before that try, but McPeek had just enough confident that he was ready for his first stakes try.
“I came very close to scratching him," McPeek said. " I debated all morning long whether this was the right spot for him or not. We were thinking that we were going to scratch if Joe Vann stayed in and we would run in the starter allowance tomorrow. Finally I called Pete Callahan and said, ‘These are the races we like winning and these are the kind of races we need to run in. Let’s just go with it.’”
Scotus tracked the leaders in third through the early going as favored Wilburn showed the way through splits of :24.47, :48.27, and 1:12.45. Illinois Derby (gr. III) winner Joe Vann joined Wilburn when they rounded the final turn and those two dueled through the first part of the stretch.
Joe Vann, with Javier Castellano in the irons, forged a narrow advantage in upper stretch, but Scotus, entering four-wide, collared him just beyond the sixteenth-pole and went on for the win. Infrattini and Corey Lanerie made a late run to get second, three-quarters of a length in front of Joe Vann. Wilburn finished fourth.
“I had a great trip and I knew I just had to be patient because of the long stretch," Garcia said. "He ran a really great race, and once he got running I knew I was going to get there.”
Scotus, a debut maiden winner in March at Gulfstream Park, improved to 2-1-2 from five starts—all this year. He has earned $121,054.
Sent off as the fifth choice in a field of seven, Scotus paid $18.40, $7.20, and $4. The exacta (7-2) returned $82.80 and the trifecta (7-2-8) was worth $362.60.
Copyright © 2014 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.