Calumet Farm's Tracksmith, the lukewarm 3.40 post time favorite, overcame a messy first turn to take the $75,000 Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds Racecourse.
Around the first turn, Tracksmith was forced out seven-wide by Irish Heatwave before settling into an outside stalking position. Turning for home, jockey Adam Beschizza let the 3-year-old son of Street Sense grind home. He wore down Clint Maroon, then held off the tandem of Flying Scotsman and Spectacular Gem, who dead-heated for second. The winning margin was a ½ length and race was clocked in 1:39.07 for the about one mile distance on the yielding turf.
“A rough beginning,” Beschizza said following the win. “Luckily he was able to put himself in a good position afterward and he's very competitive and was ready to go today. Joe Sharp prepped him very well for this race and for this horse I think it was a really impressive win considering the horses that were in it. Horses aren't making up too much ground over this turf today but for the really good ones it's not an issue.”
“One of the top five favorite horses I've ever had in my barn,” trainer Joe Sharp said. “Just an honest horse day in and day out. Shows up every day with his ears pricked and just ready to do his job. Mr. (Brad) Kelly and the (Calumet Farm) team has been patient with him and given him time to develop he's paid them dividends. He's a pleasure to train.”
“I think a freshening is in order for him,” Sharp continued. “The John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes at Sam Houston will be a possibility next with him. I also think added distance won't be an issue. We're looking forward to watch him mature and grow but for now we're sure enjoying the process with him.”
In his first race since winning the Belmont Stakes (G1), Tracy Farmer's homebred Sir Winston finished last of 12, beaten roughly ten lengths. According to Mark Casse's assistant trainer David Carroll, he cooled out fine after the race and scoped clean.
“He had to check a little bit early in the race and never really felt comfortable out there,” Carroll said. “His ears were flat back and he never really took part in the race at all. You could tell wasn't happy. We are disappointed. He trained too good to run that poorly and didn't get much out of the race.”
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