LOUISVILLE, KY – Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Bricks and Mortar exuded his power in full force on Saturday, riding a perfectly-timed moved to the front at the exact right moment to win the Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from post 12 as the even-money favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Bricks and Mortar took back to save ground while Markitoff led through easygoing opening fractions of :24.33, :50.10, and 1:15.08. As the field raced through the far turn, Ortiz, Jr., remained chilly while waiting for traffic in front to clear.
At the top of the stretch, a seam opened up, and the race was over from there. Bricks and Mortar unleashed a furious rally to the front, driving hard with every step. Qurbaan initially held the lead and tried in vain to spring the 13/1 upset, but Bricks and Mortar’s class and talent overcame it all. The Chad Brown trainee crossed the wire with a 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 1:51.80 for the 1 1/8-mile event over the good turf course.
“It’s a great day,” said Ortiz, Jr., who also teamed with Brown and Klaravich Stables to win the American Turf Stakes (G2) two races earlier aboard Digital Age. “I can’t complain. Nice horses. He’s a nice horse. He did everything right. He put himself in the game and took me all the way to the stretch, and when I asked him, he exploded. He’s a horse when you ask him, he responds right away.”
Though unable to keep pace with the winner late, Qurbaan was still 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Clyde’s Image in third. Raging Bull necked out March to the Arch for fourth, while Markitoff faded late to sixth by a 1/2-length over Synchrony after jockey Manny Franco lost his whip. Sabador took eighth, with Ticonderoga, Next Shares, Multiplier, Prime Attraction, and Breaking the Rules completing the order of finish.
Bricks and Mortar’s win was his fourth straight, including wins in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes (G1) and the Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2). The 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway improved his record to 10-8-0-2 with $3,768,650 earned.
“He has a tremendous heart,” Brown said. “I’m just so proud of him. He had to work for it today. He might not win by a lot, but he knows where the wire is. He’s a super-talented colt.”
Bricks and Mortar returned $4.20 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.80 to show. Qurbaan brought back $9.80 to place and $6.60 to show, while Clyde’s Image paid $9.20 to show.