Pin Oak Stable's homebred Synchrony was last seen racing at Keeneland 2½ years ago when he finished third in the Lexington Stakes (G3) on dirt for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.
A lot has changed since then. Synchrony returns to Keeneland as a major player for Saturday's $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), a “Win and You're In” race for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
“He has gotten on the turf and never looked back,” trainer Mike Stidham said of Synchrony, who has compiled a 9-5-2-2 record on grass. “That was the plan (to run on grass) when he came to me. He had run some good dirt races but they wanted to explore the turf, and Donnie raced at tracks such as Oaklawn where there is no grass racing.”
Following the Lexington, Synchrony was off for 10 months before his career resumed under Stidham.
“He battled some issues,” Stidham said. “He ran two good races (in early 2017), but we wanted to get him 100 percent and gave him time off.”
Since returning in 2018, Synchrony has posted a 6-4-0-2 record with all victories coming in graded stakes. He enters the Shadwell Turf Mile off victories at Monmouth Park in the Oceanport (G3) at 1 1/16 miles and the Red Bank (G3) at a mile.
His lone setbacks came with a third-place finish in the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill on Derby Day and a third in the 1 3/16-mile Arlington Handicap (G3) on July 7.
“The Arlington race was an experiment to see how he would do going longer,” Stidham said. “But the longer distance took away his kick, and we decided to cut back to a mile or a mile and a sixteenth. Right now, I would not trade places with anybody.”
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