January 30, 2023

Louisville, Ky.

It could be said that timing was every thing Saturday evening for Churchill Downs’ remaining Grade 1 race of the calendar year.

Coming off a just about 5-thirty day period crack, Proxy came out of publish 1 and seemed like he could reply any problem.

“This was the program,” trainer Michael Stidham reported immediately after Proxy (5-2) emerged from his front-stop duel around the keep track of with West Will Electrical power (8-5) to acquire by three-quarters of a duration in the $750,000 Clark Stakes. “Freshen him, get him prepared for this race, and then transfer forward from this race.”

Wherever a long relaxation proved perfect for Proxy, a 20-working day turnaround for Rich Strike (2-1) from a fourth-location complete in the Breeders’ Cup Basic was not. He had almost nothing remaining turning into the homestretch of Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile race and completed very last in the industry of six.

“Came again too swift, naturally,” said trainer Eric Reed, who was as subdued immediately after this race as he was giddy pursuing Prosperous Strike’s 80-1 victory on the exact same observe nearly seven months back in the Kentucky Derby. “It was a major chance, and we didn’t know until we did it.”

A few hours later proprietor Rick Dawson despatched a textual content message expressing a veterinarian “scoped Richie just after the race, and he’s ill (with a) sinus infection … in his nasal passage and lungs. Antibiotics beginning tomorrow, and he’ll be fantastic in several times.”

Though the loss scuttled any hopes of Abundant Strike getting aim on the 3-year-old male championship, the acquire reinvigorated upcoming hopes for Proxy, a 4-12 months-outdated colt by Tapit. By no means head that he experienced not gained a Grade 1 race prior to.

“He had in no way gained a stakes,” Stidham claimed. “With so lots of of the very good horses retiring, hopefully he’s next year’s star.”

It was just about like the very clear, 53-diploma Saturday evening was his get started of 2023. After 7 past losses in stakes, and soon after establishing a mid-pack fashion in his final nine starts, Proxy remarkably was in a speed duel early with West Will Ability.

“He broke truly very well,” successful jockey Joel Rosario said. “He set me correct there, and I was satisfied with that. He just stayed in which he was. Each individual time I questioned him to go forward, he was there for me.”

West Will Electrical power, a late-blooming 5-12 months-outdated, took Proxy close to the monitor in his standard, entrance-operating model, creating pedestrian fractions of 23.94, 48.51, 1:12.76 and 1:36.80. They were not as comfortable as past thirty day period, when West Will Electric power gained the Fayette (G2) at Keeneland, but they definitely were being not blazing, both.

“I felt fairly fantastic and confident at that position,” Rosario explained. “When we were turning for household, I imagined I bought (West Will Power) a very little much more effortlessly. But that horse retained on moving ahead.”

The two of them were being relentless. West Will Electric power even rebroke at about the sixteenth pole as he experimented with to get for the third time in a row. Rather, Proxy prevailed with a successful time of 1:48.89 on the speedy major track, supplying Godolphin its second consecutive Clark acquire after Maxfield’s victory final year. The winner returned $7.08 on a $2 get guess.

“West Will Electrical power was preventing hard on the direct and just received defeat at the wire,” reported coach Brad Cox, whose other starter Fulsome (7-1) finished a further 2 1/2 lengths back again in third. “There was not a total whole lot of tempo, but I imagined Fulsome was ready to operate nicely supplied how the pace turned out.”

Final Samurai (20-1) concluded fourth, Injunction (7-1) was fifth, and Prosperous Strike concluded final for the to start with time because his debut 12 races and 15 months back at Ellis Park.

“He broke a minimal slow,” Loaded Strike’s jockey Sonny León claimed. “After a 50 % a mile, I experienced to use him, for the reason that they have been leaving him. He likes when we have speed in the race, and nowadays seriously was not a very good rate for him.”

“He ran awfully flat, I’ll just place it that way,” Dawson reported of Rich Strike, who was wheeled again a lot quicker than he had been for any of his earlier races. “I experienced no explanation to imagine he was not prepared coming into the race, but the result did not seem pretty good.”

Wealthy Strike could have a possibility to get even with Proxy in the Dubai World Cup (G1), a race that connections for both horses have focused. Prior to that, however, Proxy may perhaps have a date in an additional Grade 1 race, this one particular worth $3 million in January at Gulfstream Park.

“The Pegasus is a risk,” Stidham reported. “The Dubai Entire world Cup is definitely a likelihood, and from there we’ll see.”

That might seem formidable for a initial-time Quality 1 winner. But Stidham was fast to position out in the make-up to this race that Proxy experienced been put to the test by some worthy opponents on his way to going 7: -4-2 in his previous stakes starts off, such as losses to Olympiad in a pair of Grade 2 races.

“Believe me, that had a great deal to do with what occurred currently,” Stidham said. “As a 3-12 months-aged he was operating in opposition to Mandaloun and Hot Rod Charlie and jogging perfectly with those people horses. And beating them. And they beat him. That all led up to tonight.”

As predicted, allowance winner Trademark was scratched Saturday early morning. Coach Vicki Oliver also entered the 3-calendar year-aged Upstart gelding in Sunday’s Commonwealth Turf (G3) hoping that race is moved to the key monitor. Her desire could be nature’s command. The National Temperature Company explained rain was particular to slide on Churchill Downs on Sunday early morning.