William and Corinne Heiligbrodt's Mitole was quick from the gate and never threatened in the lane in Saturday's $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico. The 3-year-old Eskendereya colt gave Ricardo Santana and Steve Asmussen a riding/training double on the card, racing away to a 6 1/4-length victory. Off as the 6-5 favorite, Mitole completed six furlongs over the sloppy course in 1:09.29.
“He's fast. Wow,” Asmussen said. “He's a special horse, he really is. His confidence level has gotten better, just the way he comes into a race, and acts during it, has been spectacular the past two or three races. He was solid and nice and ran some good races, but he was a horse that carried quite a bit of weight and ran solid, and got better.”
Mitole broke sharply from the middle of the pack, but stablemate Pure Shot was a bit quicker and bid for the lead in the early stages. Geroux quickly changed tactics aboard Pure Shot, taking him back to fourth along the inside while Curly's Rocket and Old Time Revival put the pressure on Mitole from the outside.
Through fractions of 21.67 and :45.93, Santana never seemed worried aboard Mitole. He was never challenged through the length of the stretch, repelling his rivals to record an easy 6 1/4-length victory. Still Having Fun came flying late for second, while Clouded Judgement finished third. Pure Shot held fourth over Soutache.
“He's one of my favorite horses,” said Santana. “He's very special. We were a little worried about the track, but he broke really well. And he broke so good I just sat and waited and on the turn for home he just ran away from them.”
Bred in Kentucky by Edward Cox, Mitole was a $140,000 juvenile from the OBS Spring sale. In his seven-race career, the colt has won a pair of listed stake races and earned over $340,000.
“We thought the off-track caused him his trouble away from the gates,” continued Asmussen. “We really worked on him in the gates and being a little quieter in there. Ricardo has done a wonderful job with him away from the gate. He was in hand and traveling well today. That's made the difference. Going fast easily, but still being within himself. I am hoping for the Woody Stephens [G2, June 9, Belmont Park] off this. I felt he's a horse that does not work that impressively; we needed this race today to get to the seven-eighths of the Woody Stephens.”
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