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The Brad Cox-trained Caravel won the 2023 Jaipur Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, a “Win & You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, which Caravel won last year. Is there anyone in America who can stop Caravel? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables’ Caravel blitzed to a three-quarter-length victory from off the pace under Tyler Gaffalione to land her second Grade 1 score, besting males in Saturday’s $400,000 Jaipur, a six-furlong Widener turf sprint for 3-year-olds and up, at Belmont Park.
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For her Jaipur victory, the Brad Cox-trained Caravel was awarded a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park, where she could vie for a title defense after upsetting last year’s edition at 42-1 odds.
Caravel validated a decision made by her connections to skip a trip to Royal Ascot for the Group 1 King’s Stand to be held later this month, a decision Cox said was made with her win in the Grade 3 Intercontinental here last year in mind.
“The owners called an audible and I was good with it. I was totally on board with it,” Cox said. “We hadn’t faced the boys over this course but she ran well in the Intercontinental. She showed up and ran a big one today.”
The Jaipur marked Caravel’s third career victory against her male counterparts, adding to her win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Shakertown two starts back in April at Keeneland. The popular daughter of Mizzen Mast earned $220,000 in victory, boosting her total career purse earnings near the $2 million mark at $1,897,577.
Sent to post as the 5-2 favorite, Caravel exited post 11 in the 14-horse field and was among the frontrunners as Nothing Better dashed to the lead with Go Bears Go and Caravel on even terms for second. Casa Creed, who attempted to win this event for a third consecutive year, enjoyed a mid-pack stalking trip under Luis Saez while Go Bears Go attempted in vein to get the jump on Caravel and advance up the rail after an opening quarter-mile in 22.19 seconds over the firm going.
Gaffalione remained collected aboard Caravel and kept her two-wide into the turn while Nothing Better toiled on the front end and Go Bears Go faded on the inside with the half-mile in 44.80. Caravel, under a strong hand ride, took charge at the top of the lane and dug in gamely at the eighth pole as Casa Creed gained momentum down the center of the course to the inside of a rallying Big Invasion. But both horses were left with too much to do and could not reel in a runaway Caravel, who completed the course in 1:07.93.
Big Invasion found his best stride late to land runner-up honors by a neck over Casa Creed with Dr. Zempf rounding out the superfecta. Nothing Better, Ice Chocolat, Arrest Me Red, Front Run the Fed, Yes and Yes, Thin White Duke, Coppola, Air Force Red, Go Bears Go and Surprise Boss completed the order of finish. Mid Day Image and also-eligible Our Shot were scratched.
The Jaipur marked the second Grade 1 win of the weekend for Gaffalione, who piloted Pretty Mischievous to a win in the Acorn on Friday at Belmont. It also marked the 20th career Grade 1 for the 28-year-old rider.
Gaffalione said Caravel gave him few nervous moments throughout.
“Coming from the outside, I wanted to be a little bit aggressive and get her into a forward position,” said Gaffalione. “She put me where I wanted to be and she travelled great, in hand. Coming into the stretch, I had so much confidence and she put them away nicely. It was nice to sit off because we know for sure for the future that she can do that.
Cox, who enjoyed his first career Jaipur victory, said winning another Breeders’ Cup with Caravel would be special.
“She never ceases to amaze me. She is absolutely amazing,” said Cox. “She just never lets you down. She is spot on. I’m very proud of her. This is two Grade 1s for her against the boys. I don’t think I’ve ever had a filly to beat the boys. The Breeders’ Cup is our main target. There are some races up at Saratoga but I’m not sure yet how many more times we would need to run prior to the Breeders Cup. We’ll just try to keep her happy and healthy.”
Bred in Pennsylvania by Elizabeth Merryman, Caravel became the second female horse to win the Jaipur, along with 2020 victress Oleksandra. Caravel now boasts a lifetime record of 23-15-0-3, with 13 total stakes triumphs. She returned $7.80 for a $2 win ticket.
The Christophe Clement-trained Big Invasion, piloted by Joel Rosario, earned his first Grade 1 placing, adding to a resume that includes a win in the Grade 3 Quick Call presented by Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation last summer at Saratoga.
Rosario said Big Invasion was gave his best effort behind a resolute Caravel.
“He did everything I asked him to do, the horse in front was just tough to beat,” Rosario said. “He gave me his all. He gave me that kick that he always does, he just got beat. The other horse is a nice horse, too.”
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