LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 8, 2016) – Returning to Keeneland for the first time since winning last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), Mongolian Saturday emerged with the lead at the top of the stretch after an early duel with Bucchero and Shogood and had more than enough left to hold off Hogy by a half-length to win the 20th running of the Woodford Presented by Keeneland Select.
Trained by Enebish Ganbat and ridden by Carlos Montalvo, Mongolian Saturday covered the 5½ furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:03.46. It was the first Keeneland stakes victory for Montalvo in only his second start here.
The victory was worth $90,000 and increased Mongolian Saturday’s earnings to $1,129,681 with a record of 36-8-8-6. Mongolian Saturday is a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Any Given Saturday out of the Houston mare Miss Hot Salsa. He was sold at the 2011 September Sale.
Mongolian Saturday returned $10.80, $6 and $4.40. Hogy, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, returned $7.80 and $4.60 in finishing 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Front Pocket Money ($5.20) and Galton ($5) who dead-heated for third.
Completing the field in order were Almasty, Undrafted, Holding Gold, Big Rock, Mosler, Shogood, Bucchero and Mongol Bull.
Racing continues Sunday with a 10-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m. ET and features two stakes headlined by the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1).
Quotes from the $150,000 Woodford (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select
Enebish Ganbat (winning trainer of Mongolian Saturday)
“He loves Keeneland. Lexington is his home town. This summer, we were in England and a doctor found (he had) a big ulcer. It took two months (for the horse to fully recover) but it seems everything is all right. We’re going to take him to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.”
Carlos Montalvo (winning rider)
“Oh my god, what a wonderful trip. When he drew that hole, the 12 hole, he (trainer Ganbat) was very happy. He said, ‘Don’t mess it up. The horse knows what to do, just don’t mess it up.’
On whether Mongolian Saturday was tiring near the finish
“No, not at all. He was coming off that layoff, and (Ganbat) had him ready. He trained him just enough to win this one, and you know what the goal is.”
Shaun Bridgmohan (rider of runner-up Hogy)
“He ran good. He’s a late runner and had to get his feet under him but once he did he came rolling. I thought he gave me a nice kick down at the end. I thought I was going to get there at one point. He was finishing really, really well. The wire just came up too soon.”
Ricardo Santana Jr. (rider of dead-heat third-place finisher Front Pocket Money)
“He tried hard. He was in a perfect spot, no excuse, just not the winner. It was a tough race for him, but he tried pretty hard.”
Paco Lopez (rider of dead-heat third-place finisher Galton)
“(My horse) ran his last race from (the back of the field). Today he showed me a little speed and when I came up in the middle of the group he came running pretty good. The winner is a tough horse, a Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup winner, but my horse came running great.”