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LEXINGTON, KY – Agave Racing Stable and Sam-Son Farm’s Say the Word, who on Thursday was named Canada’s champion male turf horse for 2020, grabbed the lead at midstretch from Channel Cat and went on to post a 1 1/2-length victory in the 36th running of the $200,000 Elkhorn (G2) for older horses Saturday afternoon.
Now based in Southern California with trainer Phil D’Amato, Say the Word and jockey Luis Saez covered 1 1/2 miles on a turf course rated as good in 2:28.26. The victory marked the third of 4 wins on the afternoon for Saez as well as his fourth stakes victory of the meet.
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Epic Bromance and favored Tide of the Sea alternated on the lead through fractions of :24.31, :48.94, and 1:14.42 with Channel Cat and Say the Word racing in the clear in fourth and fifth.
On the far turn, Channel Cat and Say the Word moved in tandem after Tide of the Sea and quickly opened up on the field by the top of the stretch. Say the Word surged to the front at the 1/8 pole and was not threatened in the run to the finish line.
“He just found a good spot (on the backstretch) and he picked up the bridle,” Saez said. “I didn’t want to let him go too early, so I tried to relax him. When we came into the straight (on the run to the finish), he was pretty good. He took it away and he won the race.”
It was another 3/4 of a length back to Fantasioso, who was followed in order by North Dakota, Red Knight, Tide of the Sea, and Epic Bromance.
The victory was worth $120,000 and increased Say the Word’s earnings to $609,292 with a record of 29-6-3-5. It was his second graded stakes victory, with the other coming in the Northern Dancer Turf Presented by Pattison (G1) last year at Woodbine.
“The only instructions I gave to Luis was just get him to settle early,” said assistant trainer Josh Flores. “For a second, we were a little concerned when he picked up the bridle on his own. Luis did a great job to get him to settle. Down the lane, the horse really dug in and put up a good fight.”
Say the Word, who was bred in Ontario by Sam-Son, is a 6-year-old gelding by More Than Ready out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Danceforthecause. At Keeneland’s 2021 January Horses of All Ages Sale, Sam-Son sold Danceforthecause, in foal to Twirling Candy, to Gainesway Farm for $925,000 – which equaled the highest price of the auction. Danceforthecause is out of Racing Hall of Famer Dance Smartly.
For his Elkhorn win, Say the Word returned $7.20, $4.80 and $3.20. Channel Cat, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $9.60 and $4.80 and finished a neck in front of Crafty Daddy, who paid $5.60 to show under Brian Hernandez Jr.
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