Making his first start for trainer Chad Brown, Juddmonte Farms' homebred Flintshire made easy work of the $1-million Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, drawing off in the stretch under Javier Castellano to win the Grade 1 turf race for 4-year-olds and upward by 1 3/4 lengths. Recent G3 Fort Marcy Stakes winner Ironicus finished second, a half-length in front of World Approval in third. They were followed across the line by Grand Tito, Divisidero, Big Blue Kitten, Triple Threat, Slumber and Oathkeeper. Slumber was vanned off after jockey Irad Ortiz pulled him up shortly after the finish.
Flintshire, an English-bred son of the Danehill stallion Dansili out of Dance Routine, by Sadler's Wells, covered 1 1/4 miles on the inner turf course in 1:58.92, a little more than one second slower than Paradise Creek's course record of 1:57.79, set in 1994.
Previously based in France in the stable of Andre Fabre, 6-year-old Flintshire has been one of the top turf performers in the world, winning the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase in 2014 and finishing twice in consecutive runnings of the Group 1 Arc de Triomphe in France in 2014 and '15. He's raced twice previously in the U.S., finishing second to Main Sequence in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita and winning last year's Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga. He also ran second in the 2015 Dubai Sheema Classic and Hong Kong Vase.
In the Manhattan, Castellano settled Flintshire into sixth position early as World Approval set a leisurely pace of :23.81 for the opening quarter mile and :49.77 for the half. The pace quickened in the third quarter, the six furlongs timed in 1:13.90, and the mile went in 1:37.09. Grand Tito and Divisidero pressured World Approval on the turn, while Castellano swung Flintshire four wide into he stretch, overtaking the frontrunners to win going away.
“He's a pheneomenal, spectacular horse,” said Castellano.
“He ran to his works,” said Brown. “Like I said all month, he was sent to me in outstanding condition. We're just trying to get him into our program, make sure he adapts okay and he doesn't change for the worse, which he hasn't.
“He showed the ability to cut back to a mile and a quarter with a good turn of foot today.
“He has an indescribable amount of class. He's so intelligent. He picks things up at light speed, oozes class and is a privilege to work with every day.”
Brown also trains Slumber, who was banned off.
“It's just precautionary,” he said. “It looks like he has run down or cut on his front ankle. Hopefully, it's just that. It's too early to tell but hopefully it doesn't look like anything serious.”
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