LOUISVILLE, KY – Abdullah Saeed Almaddah’s Green Mask collared pace-setting Latent Revenge inside the 1/16th pole and drew off to a two-length victory in the 14th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint presented by TwinSpires.com.
Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Javier Castellano, Green Mask covered the five furlongs on a “good” course in :58.02.
“Javier (Castellano) did exactly what he was supposed to do – sitting on the outside and let the speed get away,” Cox said. “He let him settle in mid-pack sitting off the pacesetters, which was probably a good thing, being on the outside today with the turf draining down to the inside.”
A 23-1 longshot at post time, Latent Revenge opened a daylight margin in the sprint down the backside under Rafael Bejarano. Castellano kept Green Mask stalking the lead in fourth place, running in the clear while on the outside. Turning for home, Latent Revenge maintained a comfortable margin until Green Mask kicked in and swooped past for the victory.
“I was outside the whole way,” Castellano said. “He handled the turf really well. He was nice and smooth, put me in a good spot. I never rode the horse before, I just followed the instructions very carefully. He (Cox) told me he was the kind of horse where you have to wait until the last moment. About the 1/8th pole, I saw the horse in the lead and I thought, ‘Man, I’m riding too patient, I have to go.’ But I timed it right.”
The victory was worth $88,350 and increased Green Mask’s earnings to $739,066 with a record of 24-6-7-3. Green Mask is a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Mizzen Mast out of the Forestry mare Bonsai Beauty.
Latent Revenge held second, 1 3/4 lengths over a closing Why Two.
“I had a lot of horse,” Bejarano said. “I looked behind and no one was coming yet, so I tried to open up in the stretch, but (Green Mask) was flying at the end.”
It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to the betting favorite Pure Sensation, who was followed in order by Wilbo, Holding Gold, Partly Mocha, Derek’s Smile, Expected Ruler, and Tell All You Know.
Green Mask returned $8.60, $5.20, and $4. Latent Revenge brought back $19.40 and $11.60, while Why Two paid $5.80 to show.
ADDITIONAL RACE QUOTES
Trainer Brad Cox, Green Mask – “This is the first time we’ve run him at five-eighths of a mile. It didn’t seem to bother him at all. He took to it. The horse responded with a big effort.
“Next time? Maybe in New York, or maybe we’ll look to the West Coast as well. He’s without a doubt a one-turn sprinter on turf and that’s where we’ll keep him.”
Trainer Greg Foley, Latent Revenge – “We were a little worried about (Tell All You Know), because he went in 20 and change at Keeneland, and that was just suicide and killed us. I just told Rafael (Bejarano) to sit back if that happened, but he got a lead and didn’t go too fast. He ran a big race. (Green Mask) beat us in the (Bonapaw Stakes at Fair Grounds) the same way.”
Jockey Flavien Prat, Why Two – “I got a good trip. He ran a good race coming back (from a layoff). He should improve off this race.”
Trainer Mike Machowsky, Why Two – “He ran great. We’re happy. We’d have rather been on firm going like he’s used to but now we know he handles this a little bit. There are so many options for him. There’s a race back at Santa Anita but there’s also a possibility of Royal Ascot. There’s a race at Belmont, there’s a ‘Win And You’re In’ at Woodbine in July. My main goal is to get him to Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar where he likes that turf.”