China Horse Club, SF Bloodstock, Head of Plains Partners and WinStar Farm's Yoshida was the easiest of winners in Saturday's $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes, rallying from last of the 12-horse field to pull away in the stretch, crossing under the wire open lengths in front, geared down with his ears pricked under Joel Rosario. A 3-year-old son of Heart's Cry (Sunday Silence), Yoshida covered a mile over Pimlico's good turf course in 1:36.83 for trainer Bill Mott.
“That was very impressive,” said Mott. “He broke but he was relaxed, and Joel said he was very responsive, whenever he needed him, he could put him wherever he wanted. I thought it was a very professional race. He won on the lead last time. I told him in the paddock, he doesn't need to be on the lead, but he also doesn't need to be last. I said, 'Just get where you're comfortable and go from there.' Well, I guess he was comfortable trailing the field. The good thing about that is he relaxed early and finished with a big burst. He had plenty of courage. Any time you've got to go through the field, you have opportunities to back out of it, and he actually got checked a little bit around the second turn nearing the quarter pole. He had to take up a little bit and wait and finally got through and found his room. He rolled home an easy winner, it looks like. He had his ears pricked and doing it the right way. He was doing it the right way.”
Caribou Club got the first call out of the gate but it was Mo Maverick who took the lead heading into the first turn, leading through a quarter in 22.97 seconds over Adonis Creed, Berks County and Cool Arrow. Yoshida was well back of the field, last in the early going. Mo Maverick continued to lead by a length through a half in 46.91 seconds, tracked in the same order by Adonis Creed and Berks County, but Rosario was already beginning to move Yoshida into contention, slipping up the rail to bypass the back half of the field in the backstretch.
Entering the far turn, Adonis Creed tried to up the pressure on Mo Maverick but was denied as the leader moved out again to a one-length advantage at the head of the lane. Yoshida found the rail path shut off as the field straightened for home, and with about five lengths to make up, he and Rosario bulled their way through a narrow hole to find clear running room to the outside. As soon as there were no horses in front of him, Yoshida took off with a strikingly impressive turn of foot, overcoming his rivals with ease and pulling away under Rosario's light urging.
“I had a very good trip,” Rosario commented. “I thought I was going to be closer. He definitely didn't break very sharp, but it looked like they were going pretty fast up front. He was very happy where he was. I just let him do his thing and then he put in a very nice run at the end. He's a very nice horse.”
At the wire it was Yoshida in front by open lengths, with a close photo for the place position. The filly Chubby Star got up the rail for second over Mo Maverick, and Caribou Club managed to finish fourth.
Bred in Japan by Northern Farm, Yoshida was a well-respected yearling who commanded $765,160 from WinStar at the 2015 Japan Racing Horse Association sale. His dam, Hilda's Passion, was bred in Kentucky and won a number of graded stakes, including the G1 Ballerina, before she was sold to Japan's Katsumi Yoshida for $1.225 million at Keeneland November. Sire Heart's Cry was the impressive winner of the Dubai Sheema Classic in the UAE, as well as a Group 1 winner in Japan. Yoshida entered the Murphy off just a maiden win at Keeneland, so the victory improves the promising colt's record to two wins from three starts, with earnings of just over $100,000.
“He's a serious horse,” summarized WinStar president Elliott Walden.
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