Godolphin continued its big season in 2017 with a homebred victory in Saturday's G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Enticed, a 2-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro, went off as the 3-1 favorite in the full field of 14 after a third-place finish in the G1 Champagne Stakes last out. Never worse than fifth while buried between rivals down the backstretch under Junior Alvarado, Enticed just got his nose down in front of Tiz Mischief at the wire to earn his first stakes victory. The son of four-time Grade 1-winning mare It's Tricky, also trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, completed 1 1/16 miles over Churchill Downs' fast main track in 1:44.42.
“This was a huge win! He is so well-bred and to win a Grade II with him as a 2-year-old is very important,” McLaughlin said via text. “And it makes it special to win it at Churchill Downs. Knowing that he likes the track is great, and Junior rode him very well.”
Enticed earned 10 points toward the Kentucky Derby with his victory.
A big, leggy colt, Enticed's size helped him to hold his own in what turned out to be an eventful running of the Kentucky Jockey Club. Alvarado tried to get him clear behind the top group heading into the first turn, but horses inside him sped up rapidly and the pair were hung four-wide. The innermost horse bumped severely with Diamond King, who was shuffled back and lost his footing, dispatching his rider. Diamond King appeared unfazed by the incident and galloped along with the rest of the field, while jockey Frankie Pennington suffered a laceration on his face and complained of groin pain en route to the hospital.
Out in front of the mess, Promises Fulfilled set the pace while tracked by Reride and Gotta Go. Through early fractions of :23.60 and :47.70, Enticed sat fourth or fifth between Gotta Go and Arrival, holding his space around the turn. Tiz Mischief started to weave his way between horses from the rear of the field approaching the far turn, while Alvarado waited for his chance on Enticed.
The trio of Promises Fulfilled, Reride and Arrival lined up across the track. Alvarado got to work building up the stride of Enticed as he prepared to swing four-wide, while Tiz Mischief was able to come through near the rail when Promises Fulfilled angled out at the top of the lane. Racing toward the wire, Promises Fulfilled regained his spot at the rail while Tiz Mischief came up between that leader and the fast-closing Enticed. Tiz Mischief and Enticed left the frontrunner behind as they strode toward the wire, exchanging the lead with each step.
“My horse had quite the learning experience,” Alvarado said. “He's still a baby so there is a lot of room to grow still. He's a big colt. He got a little lost once he got in front but he dug in and finished well. I thought I had it at the wire but it was very close.”
A photo finish determined that Enticed had gotten his nose down over Tiz Mischief at the wire for the victory. Promises Fulfilled held on to be third, while High North finished fourth.
“We were in front the jump before and the jump after the wire,” said Dale Romans, trainer of both the second and third-place finishers. “Man, that's as close as you can get without winning it. I'm so proud of both of my horse's efforts. To get narrowly defeated like that isn't fun but you have to be proud of these horses for the future. Both of the jockeys rode a perfect race.”
Bred in Kentucky by Godolphin, Enticed won at first asking at Saratoga. He was third in the Champagne behind Firenze Fire and eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic, and the Jockey Club is his first stakes win in three starts. Overall, he has two wins and a third for earnings of nearly $220,000.
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