LEXINGTON, KY – Holding Gold took over in deep stretch to score by a neck in the Grade 2, $200,000 Shakertown to give the trainer-jockey combination of Mark Casse and Joel Rosario a back-to-back stakes double. It was the first victory in the race for Casse and Rosario.
Making his first start since finishing seventh in last October’s Grade 3 Woodford, Holding Gold covered the 5 1/2 furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:02.29 after going off as the second-longest shot on the board (18-1).
Justin Squared led the field of nine through fractions of :22.07 and :44.93 and remained in front until the 1/8 pole, when Green Mask squeezed past on the inside. Holding Gold quickly collared Green Mask and the two dueled to the wire, with Holding Gold slowly easing away.
Hogy got up for third ahead of Partly Mocha, who finished another 1/2-length back in fourth and was followed in order by Justin Squared, Mongolian Saturday, Rainbow Heir, Element, and Shakhimat.
A 4-year-old homebred son of Lonhro (AUS) out of the Golden Missile mare In the Gold, Holding Gold earned $120,000 for the victory to increase his bankroll to $274,835 with a record of 9-4-2-0. It was his first graded stakes victory.
Holding Gold returned $38.20, $14.60, and $7.60. Green Mask, ridden by Robby Albarado, brought back $4.80 and $3.20, while the favored Hogy paid $3 to show under Florent Geroux.
Trainer Mark Casse, Holding Gold: “Last year, we ran him here, and he got beat (2¾) lengths in his last start (in the Woodford). I said to (owner) Mrs. (Charlotte) Weber, ‘He’s only 3 years old. Let’s send him home, let him grow up, and if he grows up over the winter, he’s going to be as good as any turf sprinter in North America.’ So maybe we do have one.”
Jockey Joel Rosario, Holding Gold: “Good trip. Before (the race) in the Paddock, Mark told me – I’ve never been on this horse before – to save a little ground and he’ll probably come with a late run, and he did. That was beautiful.”
Jockey Robby Albarado, Green Mask: “It was a perfect trip. He ran well. I am looking forward to seeing him the rest of the year.”
Jockey Florent Geroux, Hogy: “It was good race. He just was not fast enough. No excuse.”
Jockey Jose Ortiz, Partly Mocha: “My trip was very good, just a little wide going through the stretch, but I had no choice and I had to go there. I think he had a good race.”