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LOUISVILLE, KY – Though he trailed mightily at the onset, Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Double Thunder charged last to first to win Saturday’s $150,000 Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on trainer Todd Pletcher’s birthday.
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Breaking slowly from post 8 under John Velazquez at 4/1 odds, Double Thunder sat well off at the rear of the field as Lansdowne dueled inside Tapped Off through a blazing opening 1/4-mile in :21 flat.
With the pacesetters gassed by the time they rounded the far turn, longshot Knocker Down made a four-wide move to the front and fought outside Glacial at the top of the stretch.
Saving ground until the 1/8 pole, Double Thunder weaved between rivals to take the lead near the 1/16 pole before crossing 4 3/4 lengths clear, completing the 6-furlong fast dirt sprint in 1:11.17.
“I didn’t think we would break as slow as he did so we had to adjust a little bit after the start,” Velazquez said. “Once I got to the 1/4-pole, I had a lot of confidence in him and thought we had a big shot. He did everything professionally today. Warming up, he didn’t handle going with the pony as well, so I warmed him up by himself. I knew there would be a lot of speed in the race and wanted to keep him close – just not last. You don’t expect a 2-year-old to handle things like that as well as he did. He took dirt and handled it well and I think he can move forward a lot from that.”
Vodka N Water headed Glacial for second, while Knocker Down weakened late to take fourth. The 5/2 favorite Red Run, the field’s lone filly Shesgotattitude, Lansdowne, Whistlewhileyoumow, Whatstheconnection, and Tapped Off completed the order of finish.
Rising Outlaw was a vet scratch from the field of juveniles.
Double Thunder’s win followed his 1 1/2-length debut score going 4 1/2 furlongs at Monmouth Park on June 5. The son of Super Saver (who gave Pletcher his first Kentucky Derby victory in 2010) has now earned $116,850.
Double Thunder returned $10.20 to win, $6 to place, and $3.80 to show. Vodka N Water brought back $7 to place and $4.20 to show. Glacial paid $3.40 to show.
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