Woodford Racing’s Ticonderoga came flying down the center of the course late in the stretch to win Saturday’s G3 Palm Beach Stakes by about a length under jockey Joel Rosario. The 3-year-old son of Tapit covered 1 1/16 miles over Gulfstream’s firm turf in 1:40.38 for trainer Chad Brown, giving him his second win on the afternoon.
“He broke fine and he kind of settled himself,” Rosario said. “I think that’s the way he likes to run. I just gave him a chance ,and coming to the five-sixteenths [pole] I can see Luis [Saez, aboard Kitten’s Cat] coming out a little bit so I kind of stayed inside and saved a little ground, and it opened up. He was just much the best horse today. He’s a very talented horse.”
Second-last in the early going, Ticonderoga was very settled along the outside for Rosario, racing all on his own while about 10 lengths off the leading Sailing Home. Kitten’s Cat was just a half-length off Sailing Home to keep that front-runner honest through fractions of :23.34 and :47.58. Unbeaten Cowboy Culture had a great tracking position in third along the rail, with Adonis Creed and Channel Maker stalking the pace behind him.
Approaching the far turn, Rosario took advantage of an opening along the inside rail and dropped inside to move into fourth. With Cowboy Culture backing up rapidly in front of him, Rosario had to angle Ticonderoga to the outside from there, going three-wide on the second part of the turn. Ticonderoga appeared to struggle to find his stride briefly at the head of the lane, but a few reminders from Rosario had him gunning toward the leaders with explosive strides, even on the wrong lead.
Kitten’s Cat had taken over the lead from Sailing Home near the top of the lane, and was pulling away from that rival with every stride. Ticonderoga was moving the better of the two, however, and overcame Kitten’s Cat in the final sixteenth to win by just over a length. Kitten’s Cat had to settle for second with Snap Decision checking in third, and Sailing Home holding on to be fourth.
“I’m so proud of him,” said Brown. “He’s kind of a quirky horse. He was tough to figure out. We’ve made some changes with equipment. I’m just proud of the horse. He’s really matured mentally. It’s the first time Joel has been on him. I gave him a little history about him and he executed it perfectly.
“I’d like to try to stretch him out eventually. We might take him to Keeneland for the Transylvania, but ultimately the Belmont Derby, if he can go a mile and a quarter, that’s what we want to do.”
Bred in Kentucky by Bryant H. Prentice, III, Ticonderoga was an $ 850,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Sale. He has not finished worse than fourth in five career starts, winning twice and finishing second twice. Ticonderoga’s overall earnings stand at just over $ 220,000.
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