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George Vancouver navigates winning trip in Juvenile Turf
Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith's George Vancouver showed
a turn of foot worthy of his freshman sire, Henrythenavigator, to score handily
in Saturday's $909,000
Cup Juvenile Turf. By beating the Chad Brown duo of Noble Tune and Balance
the Books, the Irish shipper gave his Coolmore connections, and trainer Aidan
O'Brien and jockey Ryan Moore, their second straight win in this race, following
Wrote a year ago at Churchill Downs.
|George Vancouver handed Team Coolmore its second straight victory in this race
(Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)
In the process, George Vancouver established a new stakes record by
navigating the firm-turf mile in 1:33 3/5. That easily eclipsed the old Juvenile
Turf mark of 1:34 3/5 set by Donativum in the 2008 running over this course.
George Vancouver brought strong European form along with him, having finished
runner-up to Reckless Abandon in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville in August
and third to presumptive champion Dawn Approach in the Group 1 Dewhurst at
Newmarket last out on October 13.
Perhaps because of his less-than-inspiring career record of 1-for-6, however,
the Ballydoyle colt was let go at 9-1. Noble Tune garnered lukewarm favoritism
at 7-2, while English raider Dundonnell was also well supported at 9-2. But
neither had the blistering acceleration shown by George Vancouver down the
Given a textbook ground-saving trip by Moore, George Vancouver hugged the
fence within striking distance of the hotly contested pace. Stablemate Lines of
Battle, breaking from the far outside post 14, flashed speed and hooked up with
Summit County, I'm Boundtoscore and Gervinho entering the clubhouse turn.
Dundonnell totally blew the turn, and careered well wide, pushing Know More out
into the center of the course.
Meanwhile, the rail-drawn Summit County used his position to get a length
clear through quarter-mile split in :22 2/5. But I'm Boundtoscore was bearing
down on him through a half-mile in :46 2/5, and Gervinho and Brown Almighty were
also in close pursuit. Brown Almighty took over when reaching six furlongs in
1:10 1/5, but Gervinho was right alongside.
Dundonnell, who regrouped on the backstretch, was dragging jockey James Doyle
forward. Perched on the outside turning for home, Dundonnell offered his
challenge at the top of the stretch. All the while, George Vancouver was holding
his fire on the inside and awaiting a seam behind horses.
The gap soon materialized between Brown Almighty and Gervinho, and George
Vancouver shot through. Reveling in his first try on firm turf, the well-bred
bay steamed 1 1/4 lengths clear and fueled mutuels of $20.60, $11 and $7.20.
|George Vancouver, from the first crop of former O'Brien star Henrythenavigator, streaked to a stakes record
"He traveled very easy and he had a small gap," Moore said. "But with that
much horse, he had plenty to go through there and he actually -- I was in front
a little bit too soon on him. It was a little longer than people give the short
straight credit for, and when he got there he gave a look and hung out to the
right, so I think there was a bit more in the locker room."
"Ryan gave him a super ride," O'Brien said, "and he has been crying out for
fast ground all year -- his dad was the very same. Henry's two-year-old career
when he was a racer was soft. He didn't do anything that we thought he would do.
This horse is the same, and all the Henrys have been the same. We have been
destroyed with soft ground all year in England.
"Ryan always wanted to ride this horse and always believed in him, gave him a
marvelous ride and we're delighted."
Noble Tune rallied a trifle sooner than his troubled stablemate Balance the
Books, and capitalized on his early jump by holding off the deep closer by a
neck for runner-up honors.
"They ran great," Brown said of his place-getters. "They ran into a really
good horse today. These horses, I would say, tied for second-best. One beat the
other for second (by a neck). They trained close. Everyone has watched them
breeze in New York, and they all know they are noses apart and they ran that
"I'm thrilled," the trainer added. "I'm thrilled for both clients that they
ran well. They beat the rest of the horses in the field, which was a deep field.
They clearly have identified themselves as the two top two-year-old turf colts
in the country coming into their three-year-old year. I'm just thrilled they are
in my barn."
"I was very happy with the way the horse (Noble Tune) performed," jockey
Ramon Dominguez said of the runner-up. "We had a good trip. Of course you hate
to see the winner getting through while your horse is running on the outside.
But that's what happens in a 14-horse field."
|George Vancouver pulled away from runner-up Noble Tune (far left), fourth-placer Dundonnell (second left) and fifth Gervinho (right)
(Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)
"(Balance the Books will) move up with a little more distance," Julien
Leparoux said of his mount. "I had a very smooth trip, not really any trouble
except for the usual bumping. We started to move leaving the far turn and there
was no traffic at all, but then at the head of the lane I had to wait a little
bit, and that was it."
There was a 1 1/4-length break back to the rest. Dundonnell, who appeared
one-paced down the lane, saved fourth by edging Gervinho by a head.
"I thought he ran a big race," stable rider James Doyle said of Dundonnell.
"We got into a nice rhythm going down the backside. Turning for home I had to
wait a bit for room, but we had no problems. He put in his run and I thought we
had a big shot."
Artigiano reported home sixth, trailed by Lines of Battle, Joha, Brown
Almighty, the slow-starting Fantastic Moon, Dry Summer, Summit County, Know More
and I'm Boundtoscore. The also-eligible Rising Legend stayed in the barn.
With the $540,000 payday, George Vancouver now sports a 7-2-1-1 mark and
$700,295 in earnings. Fifth in his June 15 debut on soft ground at Navan, he was
only fourth in similar conditions at the Curragh on the Irish Derby undercard.
George Vancouver went to the Polytrack at Dundalk to break his maiden by a
convincing 3 1/4 lengths on July 16 and has been competing in Group stakes ever
since. He was a rallying second to the undefeated Reckless Abandon in the Prix
Morny, but was a disappointing third as the odds-on favorite in the Group 3
Round Tower back at the Curragh September 9. George Vancouver turned in a much
better effort when third in the Dewhurst on unsuitably soft ground, and took a
giant leap forward here.
"We always thought he was a very good horse," O'Brien said. "His first two
runs were on bad ground, and we took him to the fast ground (at Dundalk) and he
went there and won very easy.
|George Vancouver will likely set his sights on the Guineas next year
"We were always thinking it would be fine for him (here). The ground was
always what we were hoping would make the difference, and obviously Ryan had
rode him with great confidence from Deauville, and he thought that this track
and this ground and race would suit him."
George Vancouver is now on the short list for next May's Group 1 Two Thousand
Guineas at Newmarket.
"Is he a Guineas horse? We always thought he could be," O'Brien said. "Ground
is vital to him, and he showed that it's well within his compass for next year
and obviously we're delighted."
Bred by Capital Bloodstock in Kentucky, George Vancouver was purchased for
$450,000 as a Keeneland November weanling. He is out of multiple Grade 1-winning
millionaire Versailles Treaty, a Danzig mare who has also produced Grade 2
This is the tremendous Phipps family of Grade 1 victress Gold Fever, Grade
3-winning sire Out of Place and Boisterous, who just successfully defended his
title in the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct earlier on Saturday. Other
notables deeper in the line include Grade 1 stars General Assembly and Chief
Honcho, Group 1 hero Poet's Voice and the influential sire Exclusive Native.
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