ELMONT, NY – Shadwell Stable’s homebred Takaful used a close stalking trip to find success in Saturday’s Grade 1, $350,000 Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont Park.
The Vosburgh is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Takaful receiving an automatic berth in the $1.5 million TwinSpires Sprint at Del Mar on Saturday, November 4.
Breaking from post 4, jockey Jose Ortiz placed Takaful four-wide just off the pace set by El Deal and rider Javier Castellano through fractions of :22.31 and :44.76. Sent three-wide into the front stretch, Takaful drew even with El Deal before taking command in the final strides and hitting the wire first by a length in a final time of 1:09.69 for the 6-furlong main track sprint.
“I really like my horse,” Ortiz said. “I think last time was a little too far. When we entered the stretch, I knew Javier had horse but was not getting away from me, so I knew from the 1/8 pole it was going to be a horse race. He really dug in around the 1/16 pole and got the victory. It was great, winning this race for good connections. They’re really nice people and I’m happy to win for them.”
El Deal held on for second by a 1/2-length over Stallwalkin’ Dude, who finished 9 1/4 lengths ahead of Celtic Chaos. Weekend Hideaway, Mr. Crow, and Green Gratto completed the order of finish.
Takaful’s win improved his record to 7-3-1-1 with career earnings of $441,500. The 3-year-old son of Bernardini is now 3-2-1 since cutting back to a sprinting distance He began the end of 2016 attempting to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, but back-to-back disappointing finishes in the Grade 3 Jerome and the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth convinced trainer Kiaran McLaughlin to give him time off and regroup.
“I’m so happy to win a Grade 1 for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashai Al Maktoum, who is the owner, and Rick Nichols and all of Shadwell,” McLaughlin said. “They’ve been patient. We tried to go the Derby route and it didn’t work, and they let us just get him right. Jose rode a great race. It gives us confidence that he was successfully able to stalk.”
Takaful returned $11.80 to win, $4.90 to place, and $3.20 to show. El Deal brought back $3.30 to place and $2.60 to show, while Stallwalkin’ Dude paid $2.90 to show.