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LOUISVILLE, KY – Fan favorite Bodexpress, well-known for his pre-race antics, held it together nicely to post an 11/1 upset in Friday’s $500,000 Clark Stakes Presented by Norton Healthcare (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Breaking well from post 8 under Rafael Bejarano, Bodexpress raced up to sit just behind the pace-setting Phantom Currency, who posted opening fractions of :23.39, :47.94, and 1:12.77.
Remaining well within range entering the far turn, Bodexpress went three-wide around Phantom Currency and Mr Freeze, who slipped up the rail to take the lead midway through.
Taking first shot at Mr Freeze at the top of the stretch, Bodexpress took the lead at the 1/8 pole and held off late rallies from Code of Honor and Owendale for victory.
The Gustavo Delgado trainee completed the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route in 1:49.12.
“This horse just showed so much run today,” Bejarano said. “I’m so proud of him. (Phantom Currency) was going so fast on the lead and we were able to sit a really good trip just behind him. He relaxed very nicely for me, and turning for home, I could feel I still had a lot of horse underneath me. He had a lot of energy in deep stretch when we needed it to hold off the rest of the horses.”
Code of Honor, the field’s 8/5 favorite, made what looked like a winning move in the stretch but flattened out late and finished 1 length behind second.
Another 1/2-length behind him came Owendale, who nipped Coastal Defense for third by a neck.
Mr Freeze, Silver Prospector, By My Standards, Bourbon Calling, Crafty Daddy, Title Ready, Multiplier, Aurelius Maximus, Plus Que Parfait, and Phantom Currency completed the order of finish.
In Love scratched as an Also Eligible.
Bodexpress’ win was his first at the stakes level and his first away from Gulfstream Park West, improving his overall record to 17-4-4-3. The 4-year-old Bodemeister colt, perhaps best known for running riderless in the 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1), has now earned $694,600 for co-owners Top Racing, Global Thoroughbred, and GDS Racing Stable.
“This is a different horse than we saw last year during the Triple Crown campaign,” Delgado said. “He’s really matured. Turning for home, I thought we had a really good shot. The horse deserves this most of all. I’m very happy for everyone involved, but we are so happy for Bodexpress.”
Bodexpress returned $25.40 to win, $10.60 to place, and $7 to show. Code of Honor brought back $4 to place and $3 to show, while Owendale paid $3.80 to show.
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