Seth Klarman and William Lawrence's Patternrecognition earned a third consecutive victory by crossing the wire first in Saturday's Grade 1 Cigar Mile, besting the eight-horse field by a hard-fought 3/4-length. Sent off at odds of 5-1, the 5-year-old son of Adios Charlie took the lead at the start and never relinquished it, recording the first top-level score of his career. Jose Ortiz piloted the Chad Brown trainee through the one-mile course in 1:34.98 over an Aqueduct main track rated fast.
“He broke out of there very sharply,” said Ortiz. “The way he broke, I didn't want to give the lead away, so I used my own judgment and took a shot and went straight to the rail and took the lead. He got pressured pretty good. I took a big risk because those weren't the instructions, but it worked out.”
The 8-5 favorite Mendelssohn finished fourth, while 2-1 second choice Copper Town finished last of eight.
Patternrecognition broke on top, and was easily guided over to the rail to take command. Mendelssohn, meanwhile, got stuck behind that rival on the rail, taking dirt in his face all the way through the backstretch as Pat On The Back kept him pinned on the inside.
Cruising through fractions of :22.88 and :45.68, Patternrecognition skipped away to a 1 1/2-length lead as the field turned for home. Ryan Moore started scrubbing on Mendelssohn well before the quarter pole, but didn't get much response from the royally-bred sophomore.
True Timber, a 31-1 longshot, was moving very well down the center of the course, and Sunny Ridge made up ground at the rail, but neither was able to run down the frontrunner. Patternrecognition crossed the wire about a half-length better than True Timber, while Sunny Ridge got up for third. Mendelssohn held fourth in a photo finish.
Bred in Florida by Ocala Stud, Patternrecognition was a $420,000 juvenile purchase at the OBS April sale. He did not debut until his 4-year-old season, but won at first asking and was competitive in allowance competition throughout that season. This year, Patternrecognition graduated to stakes company, earning his first black-type win last out in the G2 Kelso. The Cigar Mile is his first G1 win, and improves his overall record to five wins and five seconds from 11 starts with earnings of over $800,000.
“Obviously, he's had some soundness issues along the way and I want to thank the owners as well, Seth Klarman and Bill Lawrence, for never giving up on this horse,” Brown said. “He needed the time and they gave him the time to always get healthy when we needed to rest the horse. Ultimately, he showed the talent that we thought he had when they bought him what seems like forever ago as a 2-year-old and this is really a great moment for this horse. He deserves it.
“Because he's had so many interruptions in his schedule, I was always trying to bridge him to a longer race off a sprint and it was always hard to get there because he always had a setback. Finally, he got very sound, to where I could train him consistently and get him out to that mile distance where his father [Adios Charlie] was very effective, as well. This horse is a rare horse. He's got that speed and he can carry it. I'm very proud of the judgment Jose [Ortiz] used today. I left it up to him and the fractions concerned me a touch, but this horse showed his heart.”
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