West Point Thoroughbreds, William Freeman and William Sandbrook's Decorated Invader proved a deserving 2-1 favorite in Sunday's Grade 1 Summer Stakes, overcoming a slow start and rallying the stretch to win by about two lengths. The 2-year-old son of Declaration of War, ridden by Irad Ortiz for trainer Christophe Clement, covered a mile over Woodbine's yielding turf course in 1:36.34. The victory earns Decorated Invader an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf this fall at Santa Anita Park.
“We were just looking for him to relax in the first part of the race and then let him run in the end,” said Ortiz. “We know he can run so we just want to relax him and teach him the first part.”
Both Decorated Invader and Vitalogy, leaving from the innermost two positions in the starting gate, were off a bit slowly and ceded significant early ground to the frontrunners down Woodbine's backstretch. Keep On Truckin was prominent early, but was overwhelmed by longshot Cadet Connelly for the lead through early fractions of :24.26 and :48.43.
Cadet Connelly held a 1 1/2-length advantage over Pleasecallmeback and Mystic Lancelot around the far turn, but Decorated Invader had started making up ground on the outside. In the home straight, Decorated Invader was able to kick away from the field to win by a comfortable two lengths at the wire. Cadet Connelly narrowly held the place over Vitalogy, the latter colt experiencing several traffic problems in the stretch. Proven Strategies finished fourth.
“I know he broke a touch poorly but with the rain we had and everything, I was pretty comfortable he was moving well and was happy where he was,” said assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul. “We were just very confident with our ride. He was just biding his time, and he showed up today.”
Bred in Kentucky by Redmon Farm, Decorated Invader is out of the winning Arch mare Gamely Girl. He was a $200,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale, the colt just missed in his debut at Saratoga on July 13, closing strongly to finish second in a 1 1/16-mile turf race. A month later, he broke his maiden via a 3 ¼-length victory, also at 1 1/16-miles on the Saratoga grass.
Next stop, Breeders' Cup Juvenile?
“We talked about it beforehand,” said Lorieul. “It would be the obvious next target for him. Today was the big test, and he completed it so we're very happy for the partnership of West Point.”
The colt has now won two of his three career starts to earn over $210,000.
“He's only had three races so I think he's getting better and better,” offered Ortiz. “Today, I really liked the way he did it. He was floating in a little bit in the stretch, he always does, but hopefully he learns and if he just keeps a little more straight in the stretch that would be great. He keeps learning.”
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