My Conquestadory dazzled in winning the Darley Alcibiades Stakes on Friday on opening day at Keeneland Race Course. (Keeneland photo)
In less than a month, My Conquestadory vaulted herself from unraced prospect into the discussion for the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly.
She dominated males in a Grade 2 race at Woodbine in her first-ever start on Sept. 14 and returned Friday to win the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades by 1 ½ lengths lengths despite being trapped in traffic entering the final turn at Keeneland Race Course.
In her career debut, My Conquestadory was simply much the best when dominating males. The song remained the same in the Alcibiades as she and jockey Eurico Da Silva worked their way out of traffic and then blew away 11 opponents.
My Conquestadory dropped back to 11th early and stayed there through a half-mile. When she started to accelerate on the backstretch, approaching the final turn, she was caught behind a blockade horses.
My Conquestadory was able to weave into striking range, however, and unleashed an explosive rally entering the stretch to take charge before pulling away to another convincing win.
Photos courtesy of Keeneland
“I was worried in the middle of the turn because there were so many fillies in front of me but every time I need her, she was just galloping,” Da Silva said. “I was waiting for a hole, and every time it opened a little bit, I put her in. In the stretch, when we had a free run, she just ran so easy. She’s a very nice filly.”
Winning trainer Mark Casse, who trains My Conquestadory for Conquest Stables, was asked after the race if the troubled trip had him a little worried during the race.
“A little worried? My thoughts were, ‘Here we have this great filly and she’s not going to be able to show how great she was.’ I wasn’t upset or worried for me, I was worried for her, because I wanted her to be able to show you how great she was,” Casse said. “That was my concern.”
The Alcibiades win earned My Conquestadory a starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies via the “Win and You’re In” challenge series. Casse expects her to move on to the Breeders’ Cup where she will make her third start on her third different surface. She won her debut in the Summer Stakes on grass and the Alcibiades on Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface. The Juvenile Fillies will be held on the dirt main track at Santa Anita.
“We came here because I said I wanted to get her some experience – didn’t know we were going to get that much experience, but I’m glad to have it,” Casse said.
Winning three races on three different surfaces to begin her career - all against elite graded stakes competition – would be a remarkable accomplishment for My Conquestadory. After the Alcibiades, she certainly has the look of a remarkable filly.
One race earlier on Friday, Sum of the Parts led from start to finish to win the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes for the second straight year.
The 4-year-old Speightstown colt was winless in four starts since last year’s Phoenix win, but he entered this year’s edition with two wins in as many starts on the Polytrack surface at Keeneland. He confirmed his affinity for the Keeneland main track when he streaked right to the front and held off all challengers to win by 1 ¼ lengths under Leandro Goncalves.
Trained by Tom Amoss for owners Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, Sum of the Parts earned an automatic starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint via the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series.
Last year, Sum of the Parts went on to finish fourth, beaten by only three lengths, in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Amoss said after the race that he would like to take another shot in the $1.5 million race.
“I told the group I was with, ‘This the most athletic horse I’ve trained. He’s the quickest horse I’ve ever trained out of the gate,’ “ Amoss said. “He really showed that today. All the credit goes to the horse.”
For Equibase charts, click here.
SLIDESHOW: SUM OF THE PARTS IN PHOENIX
Photos courtesy of Keeneland