Employing his long, fluid stride, undefeated Atreides took another step forward at Gulfstream Park Aug. 30, capturing the $75,000 Monarchos Stakes (VIDEO) by a remarkable 17 3/4 lengths for his third consecutive dominant victory.
Stonestreet Stables' burgeoning 3-year-old star, the 1-5 favorite in a field of six sophomores, was saddled by trainer Marty Wolfson.
"It's fun. I've never had a 3-year-old this good. Chaposa Springs, filly-wise, was great, but I never had a colt this good," said Wolfson. He saddled Chaposa Springs to multiple graded stakes wins, including the 1995 Test (gr. I).
A homebred colt, Atreides was certainly bred to be a star, being out of the multiple grade I winner Dream Rush, who captured the 2007 Darley Test and Prioress Stakes (both gr. I). His successful sire, Medaglia d'Oro , won several grade I stakes as well, including the 2004 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream, while earning more than $5.7 million.
Atreides is a half brother to 2012 Frizette (gr. I) winner Dreaming of Julia, who took the 2013 Gulfstream Oaks (gr. II) by 21 3/4 lengths.
The dark bay colt made an auspicious career debut at Gulfstream July 12, when he ran six furlongs in 1:08.69, just .57 off the track record set by Eclipse champion Big Drama in 2011. The Kentucky-bred 3-year-old followed up that 5 1/4-length victory with a front-running allowance triumph Aug. 10, when he beat older rivals for the second time by three lengths while running 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15 2/5.
Saturday, Atreides successfully stretched out to a mile in the Monarchos, in which he recovered from early bumping to settle into a rhythmic stride behind pacesetter Pontos and Black Label on the backstretch. The Kentucky-bred colt advanced on the leader appraoching the turn without much encouragement from jockey Edgard Zayas before sweeping to the lead on the turn and drawing away in the stretch.
Atreides, who returned $2.40 for the win, completed the mile under a motionless Zayas in 1:36.47.
"(Zayas) was easing him up at the sixteenth pole, so it's hard to say how fast he would have run, but I'm really not concerned with time. I'm just concerned about the way he did it," Wolfson said.
General Sham'mah finished second, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of the Wolfson-trained Tiz Marvelous.
Atreides was with 12-time Gulfstream champion trainer Todd Pletcher at Palm Meadows last year, but didn't make it to the races as a juvenile.
Zayas, who won four races on Saturday's program and has won 22 races over the last seven racing days at Gulfstream, has been aboard Atreides for all three victories--accomplished by a combined 26 lengths.
"He's just a different class of horse. He has speed, but at the same time you can rate him. That's pretty good, because he can go to the lead the same way he can come from behind," the 21-year-old jockey said.
Wolfson said no decision would be made about Atreides' next start until he talks with Barbara Banke of Stonestreet.