HRONIS RACING-OWNED TALCO EARNS AUTOMATIC BERTH IN BREEDERS’ CUP MILE AT KEENELAND
ARCADIA, Calif. (June 13, 2015)–Last with a quarter mile to run, French-bred Talco angled off the rail turning for home and outsprinted favored Midnight Storm to take Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Shoemaker Mile (turf) by a half length under Rafael Bejarano. Trained by John Sadler and owned by Hronis Racing LLC, the 4-year-old colt got the distance in 1:35.00.
“When I came to the stretch, I knew Tyler (Baze, aboard Midnight Storm) still had a lot of horse,” said Bejarano. “My horse gave me such a big kick off the turn, we were able to challenge him right away and then we outran him to the finish. The whole key to winning today was being able to stay inside around the far turn and really kicking well.”
Off as the longshot in a field of five 3-year-olds and up at 13-1, Talco paid $28.40, $6.00 and $5.20. Second, beaten a length in his most recent start, the Grade III, one mile turf American Stakes on May 9, Talco registered his third stateside win from nine tries and improved his overall mark to 15-5-4-3. With the winner’s share of $240,000, he improved his earnings to $491,123.
“When we saw the early fractions (22.93, 46.53, 1:10.17 and 1:22.38), we felt pretty good and we’re happy that this win makes him eligible for the Breeders’ Cup,” said Kosta Hronis. “He was first or second in his last four races and he got the pace today.”
“It was a big win,” said Larry Benavidez, assistant to Sadler. “We just kind of wanted them to go fast up front and we figured the one (eventual fourth place finisher Winning Prize) was going to go, with the blinkers on. Finally, the race played out like it looked on paper and this horse is in top form right now.”
Midnight Storm, a winner of the Grade II Del Mar Derby last August, came into the Shoemaker riding a three game winning streak, but didn’t show his customary front-running speed.
“He didn’t handle that grass at all, he couldn’t really get a hold of it,” said Baze. “I’m still very proud of the way he ran, he never threw in the towel.
The solid favorite at even money, Midnight Storm finished 1 ¾ lengths in front of Seek Again and paid $3.00 and $3.40.
Shipped by trainer Bill Mott to Santa Anita from his training base at Saratoga, Seek Again was next to last at the quarter pole and although outrun by the winner, picked up the pieces for third. Ridden by eastern-based Jose Lezcano, Seek Again was off at 7-2 and paid $5.40 to show.
“My horse just didn’t do it today,” said Lezcano. “I tried to keep up with Talco and couldn’t.”
Although favored Midnight Storm ran second, the biggest disappointment in the race was Bal a Bali, who was ridden by Flavien Prat and finished last as the 3-2 second choice.
“I had a good trip,” said Prat. “…I was pretty good on the last turn and I asked him and he didn’t answer…We beat the winner last time, so I don’t know…”
Note: The Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race, with the winner (Talco) earning an automatic berth in the Grade I, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile, to be run at Keeneland on Oct. 31.