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2023 Phoenix Stakes Replay Analysis | Hoist The Gold Finally Makes The Grade In Keeneland Sprint Prep
Hoist the Gold (Candice Chavez/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

2023 Phoenix Stakes Replay Analysis | Hoist The Gold Finally Makes The Grade In Keeneland Sprint Prep

Hoist the Gold won the 2023 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The Dallas Stewart trainee won his 1st graded stakes effort in his 24th career start & 9th at the graded stakes level.

Is Hoist the Gold – or anyone else – a legitimate contender at the World Championships? Watch the replay & get the Racing Dudes’ expert analysis, then tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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Watch the race replay here:

The press release:

Dream Team One Racing Stable’s Hoist the Gold, receiving a dream trip from jockey John Velazquez, posted a three-quarters of a length victory over favored Nakatomi to win the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix. 

Trained by Dallas Stewart, Hoist the Gold covered the 6 furlongs over a fast main track in 1:09.13. It is the first Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix victory for Stewart and Velazquez. 

Doctor Oscar and Sibelius tore through opening fractions of :21.79 and :44.83 with Hoist the Gold tracking a couple of lengths behind the leaders along the rail. On the turn, Velazquez sent Hoist the Gold three wide after the leaders, hit the front at the three-sixteenths pole and held off all challengers. 

A Keeneland sales graduate, Hoist the Gold is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Mineshaft out of the Tapit mare Tacit Approval. It is the first stakes victory for Hoist the Gold, whose career record is 24-4-6-3 with earnings of $804,547 after adding the winner’s share of $200,725. 

Hoist the Gold returned payoffs of $14.04, $6.86 and $4.06. Nakatomi, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., paid $4.04 and $3.06 and finished a neck in front of Bango, who returned $2.80 to show under Tyler Gaffalione. 

It was another 2 lengths back to Necker Island, who was followed in order by Sibelius, Gulfstream Way, defending champion Manny Wah, Doctor Oscar, Top Gunner, Voodoo Zip and Baytown Bear. 

Hoist the Gold (1) ridden by John Velazquez wins the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (Grade 2) on opening day of the fall meet at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky on October 6, 2023. Candice Chavez/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM


Dallas Stewart (winning trainer of Hoist the Gold)

“When you show up with a nice horse and a jock (John Velazquez) that’s won five Grade 1s for you, you got a lot of confidence. I didn’t worry about a thing down the backside. It played out perfect. He got him out. The horse loves this track. He came home good, so we know where we’re going November 4: back west (for the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1). It’s great to be here. It’s a great day. We got a great thing going with horse racing; we just gotta keep rolling.”

John Velazquez (winning rider)

“(Trainer) Dallas Stewart and I talked in the Paddock and I watched his (Hoist the Gold’s) races – seems like when he’s close to the pace he’s much better. So I told him I’m going to come out of there and get him third at least and we’ll have a really good chance. Once I got him back and got behind those two horses I was in a great position where I thought I wanted to be. But I almost messed up a little bit when I asked him a little too much the first sixteenth of a mile.”

Irad Ortiz Jr. (rider of runner-up Nakatomi)

“He was game. He was trying. He gave me everything he had. The winner was the best today. My horse ran a huge race. My horse leaned in, but I kept him straight. It was a good pace in front of me. They put on an honest pace.”

Tyler Gaffalione (rider of third-place finisher Bango)

“The horse did everything I asked him to. He ran as hard as he could – just weren’t able to get the money today.”