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Exaulted won the 2023 Shoemaker Mile Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park, a “Win & You’re In” for the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Mile. Is the Peter Eurton trainee now a top contender for the year-end world championships? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Unbeaten since transferred to turf three starts back, the Pete Eurton-trained Exaulted took the biggest step in his 15th career start on Memorial Day at Santa Anita, as he rallied for a no-doubt-about-it half length win in the Grade I, $500,000 Shoemaker Mile, getting the trip in 1:34.08.
The first of 41 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races in North America this year, the Shoemaker Mile will provide Exaulted an automatic starting position with fees paid into the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile, which will be televised live on FanDuel TV from Santa Anita on Nov. 4.
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Ridden confidently by Juan Hernandez, Exaulted was full of run while a reserved third, about 2 ½ lengths off pacesetter Lamplighter Jack three furlongs out, tipped four-deep turn for home and powered by Flavius while keeping a late running Irideo safe on the money.
“This horse has been improving every race,” said Hernandez, the meet’s leading rider with eight stakes wins and 24 overall victories. “He is always in a good position. He broke really sharp today and I took him back. At the three eighths, I asked him to pick it up and it was time to go. I passed a horse to get the lead and he didn’t let other horses pass him.
“Peter Eurton has done a really good job with this horse. This horse really loves the turf, so maybe the turf has been the difference.”
A 1 ½ length winner of the Grade III American here at one mile on turf April 2, Exaulted, a 6-year-old full horse by Twirling Candy, was off at 3-1 in field of 11 three-year-olds and up and paid $8.20, $4.80 and $3.20.
Owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable, LLC, Exaulted, in getting his first Grade I win, improved his overall mark to 15-5-3-4. With the winner’s share of $300,000, he nearly doubled his earnings to $603,660.
“I’m just so happy, so pleased to do it for Lee Searing,” said Eurton. “This is the kind of race you want to win ever since you’re a kid. I knew Bill (Shoemaker), we played golf with my father-in-law. Those two things together make it a great day.”
Ridden by Hector Berrios, Argentine-bred Irideo, next to last at the half mile mark, rallied to be second by one length over favored Hong Kong Harry and paid $27.80 and $9.20 while off at 41-1.
Hong Kong Harry, who had to wait for racing room while well of the pace around the far turn, made a belated rally under Flavien Prat and paid $2.40 to show as the 8-5 favorite.
Golden Gate Fields-based Il Bellator, the longest shot in the field at 68-1, finished a length back in fourth with Alejandro Gomez up.
Fractions on the Shoe Mile were 22.88, 46.10, 1:10.09 and 1:22.14.
JUAN HERNANDEZ, EXAULTED, WINNER: “This horse has been improving every race. He is always in a good position. He broke really sharp today and I took him back. At the three eighths, I asked him to pick it up and it was time to go. I passed a horse to get the lead and he didn’t let other horses pass him. Peter Eurton has done a really good job with this horse. This horse really loves the turf, so maybe the turf has been the difference.”
PETER EURTON, EXAULTED, WINNER: “I’m just so happy, so pleased to do it for (Lee Searing). This is the kind of race you want to win ever since you’re a kid. I knew Bill (Shoemaker), we played golf with my father-in-law. Those two things together make it a great day.” ON THE BREEDERS’ CUP BEING AT SANTA ANITA THIS YEAR: “I’ve never done any good anywhere else, so I’m glad it’s here.”
LEE SEARING, EXAULTED, WINNER: “(Peter) looks like a genius. To take the horse off the dirt and put him on the grass and win four in a row. I’m feeling awful good, winning the Shoemaker Mile is pretty fun. You talk about this race, the Gamely, the Santa Anita Handicap, the Hollywood Gold Cup you’re talking about races I’d love to win.”
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