September 22, 2021

Sancal: ‘It’s just amazing…unbelievable’ to earn first Keeneland win

Last updated: 10/4/14 2:59 PM

Sancal: ‘It’s just amazing…unbelievable’ to earn first
Keeneland win

Trainer Murat Sancal earned his first
Keeneland victory
when he sent out Grand Elmendorf to win the 10TH race on Friday, opening day of
the fall meet. Grand Elmendorf, ridden by Julien Leparoux, nosed out stablemate
The Conception to win the 1 1/8-mile race that was transferred from the turf
course to the wet-fast main track following periodic heavy rain. Her time was 1:52

“It was amazing,” a beaming Sancal said Saturday morning. “Both horses are
really good horses. When they took (the race) off the turf — both horses had
experience on an off track — so I felt very confident I was going to do good,
but I didn’t think (they would run) 1 and 2. They are both nice horses, but
Grand Elmendorf is a very special horse for us.”

Grand Elmendorf is a three-year-old A.P. Indy filly out of champion Gourmet
Girl. She races for Arif Kurtel of
Izmir, Turkey, who purchased her for $75,000 at Keeneland’s 2013 April
Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

Sancal, who also is from Turkey, operates a boarding and
quarantine operation from part of historic Elmendorf Farm near Lexington,
Kentucky. The
28-year-old got his start with horses almost by accident in his home country.

“It’s very funny because in Turkey everyone arranges your (education and
career),” Sancal said. “I went to (take) the exam and got high points for (horse
training). All my family are teachers and professors, but I put my first choice
(of career) to be a horse trainer and I think by mistake they gave me my first

“I’ve loved horses all the time and I’m happy here. If I had to do another

Sancal sent his first horses to post in 2011 and has
experienced his most success this year with six wins in 40 starts and earnings
of more than $230,000. A regular at Keeneland’s four annual Thoroughbred sales,
Sancal is training 13 horses at Keeneland.

“It’s so important to win here and run here,” Sancal said.
“To be here is so important. We were planning for this. Everybody likes
Keeneland in Turkey and (wants to see) their horses do well here. When I came to
this country, this was the place to be.

“It’s just amazing. It was unbelievable.”

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