Under the hot hands of racer Luis Saez, Gold Square’s Instant coffee went around a minors field on November 26 to win by 1 1/4 first Curly Jack in $399,365 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs.
The win gave Saez a sixth on the card 12 races below Twin Spires, just short of a record seven wins on the card shared by Pat Day and Julien Leparoux. Saez became the 12th rider to win six races in a show there, giving him a significant lead in the fall meeting equestrian standings ahead of Churchill’s closing date, the 27th. November.
“Today is a great day. A beautiful day — we won a lot of races,” Saez told FanDuel TV. “Everything has turned out perfect for us. So I’m very grateful.”
Instant Coffee, like his racer, hit the highs on Saturday. In just the third start of his career — after his first win at Racecourse Saratoga this summer and the fourth time in Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland last month – he showed a shot from there that showed a bright future.
Saturday when the nine-horse field entered the backstretch of the two-turn race, the fourth-length tackle winner in the opening quarter-mile was: 24.76 set by huge . Then he inched closer to the splits: 50 and 1:15.02, gathering momentum like naughty whirlwind briefly poke your head out to the front for the final turn. But at Saez’s urging, Instant Coffee took down the opposition while racing across the board.
“He broke a bit slow today, so we picked up the pace,” Saez said. “I was a bit nervous because they weren’t really going fast up front and I was pretty wide. I could see in the far corner my horse was trying really hard and I had a lot of confidence in it. We were able to. Run fast into the lane, and he keeps looking for more. He’s a pony just starting out and learning everything.”
Curly Jack fights from behind the horse wall for a spot, one head ahead of the end of the show Hayes . Streetwho closed quickly to nip Red Road One in fourth place. Another stitch behind, only half the length of the winner, is Denington in fifth place.
Curly Jack racer Edgar Morales said: “I have nowhere to go. “So I just waited for something to open, and when it did, he came back (Instant Coffee), but it was too late.”
Instant Coffee has become the third-ranked bet winner for Spendthrift Farm’s promising stallion Bolt d’Oro who is currently in a close battle with good magic and justification for taking the lead in the title of the first brood at the end of the season.
The way Instant Coffee warms up his connections has made him capable of handling longer races, both on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and potentially in the classic 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May.
“This is one of the biggest reasons we’re doing this — to be in the Road to the Kentucky Derby,” said coach Brad Cox. “We’re incredibly proud of this pony for taking such a win in just the third start. It really does whatever you ask of it in the morning. It’s a pretty slow pace. , but Luis chased it and it was able to continue to grind out victory.”
The Kentucky Horse Racing Club provided qualifying points for the 2023 Kentucky Derby hosted by Woodford Reserve (G1) on a 10-4-3-2-1 basis. Having won two points in Breeders’ Futurity, Instant Coffee now has a total of 12 points.
Churchill Downs officials use qualifying points as a preference system when the Derby exceeds the maximum field size of 20 horses.
The winner has a speed of 1:45.25 for the distance, much slower than the 1:43.94 time of Hoosier Philly an earlier race in her 5-year run at the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds. He paid $5.08 on a winning bet as favorite.
Bred in Kentucky by Sagamore Ranch, Instant Coffee was the first of two foals produced from Uncle Mo mare Don’t Follow Anyone the other is a child full of yearning blur . Follow No one is a half sister to a classified stake winner Sound Nootka .
Joe Hardoon, track manager for Al Gold’s Gold Square stables, purchased the foal for $200,000 from Upson Downs Ranch consignment at Keeneland’s September 2021 Annual Sale.
If Instant Coffee makes it to the Kentucky Derby next year, it would give Gold a second straight start of the Derby against Cox. Golden Square electronic knife 18th for them in the 2022 Run for the Roses, but the pony won two tier 1 races this year at just 3 years old and finished his season with a narrow second place. in Big Ass Fans’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
“It was great to deal with them,” Cox said of Hardoon and Gold.