November 28, 2021

United overtakes Smooth Like Strait in Eddie Read; Madone edges Going Global in San Clemente

United wins the Eddie Read Stakes (Photo by Benoit Photo)

United and Madone rallied to win turf stakes at Del Mar on Saturday.

Eddie Read (G2)

LNJ Foxwoods’ United made a successful title defense in the $250,000 Eddie Read (G2), running down even-money favorite Smooth Like Strait in deep stretch to post a neck decision in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair. Flavien Prat guided the classy six-year-old gelding for Hall of Famer Richard Mandella.

Award Winner showed the way on a short lead while being tracked in second by Smooth Like Strait. After rating a few lengths behind moderate early fractions (:25.19, :49.43, and 1:14.01), United launched his move on the far turn.

Smooth Like Strait accelerated clear in upper stretch, but United was closing fast on the outside. The veteran gained the upperhand in the latter stages, scoring as 3-1 second choice among seven runners, and stopped the teletimer in 1:49.49.

By Giant’s Causeway, United was bred in Kentucky by Rosemont Farm. He placed in four stakes in 2019, including a head second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), before breaking through at the graded level last year. The chestnut reeled off consecutive wins in the San Marcos (G2), Charles Whittingham (G2), and Eddie Read, and also captured the John Henry Turf Championship (G2).

Winner of the San Luis Rey (G2) in mid-March in his seasonal opener, United rebounded in the Eddie Read from a fourth as the odds-on favorite in the May 29 Whittingham. He’s now earned more than $2.6 million from a 20-9-4-1 career line.

“I could tell the fractions were slow; I could feel it,” Prat said. “But my horse was travelling well and he was comfortable. I knew his last race wasn’t his real race and I felt he’d run better today. The only question was being able to get out. He did and ran well through the lane. He’s back.”

“He ran well and I’m very proud of him,” Mandella added. “He was coming off a terrible race, I’ve never had him run that bad. We worried and watched and did every test you can do on him and we found a bruise under his shoe two weeks old. It didn’t seem like that big a deal, but it must have been. We’ll probably look at the Del Mar Handicap ([G2] on Aug. 21) next.” 

Smooth Like Strait held second by a length over 4-1 Court Again, who rallied belatedly for third. Vintage Point, Award Winner, Restrainedvengence, and Say the Word came next under the wire.

San Clemente (G2)

Madone closed fast on the far outside to deny odds-on favorite Going Global by a half-length in the $200,000 San Clemente (G2) for three-year-old fillies. Owned by Kaleem Shah and trained by Simon Callaghan, the dark bay daughter of Vancouver received a well-timed ride from Juan Hernandez.

Going Global, who captured her first four U.S. starts over stakes foes, had a five-race win streak snapped. After negotiating her way through traffic in upper stretch, the 2-5 choice surged to the lead along the inside in deep stretch, but she could not withstand the late push from Madone, who completed the mile turf event in 1:35.28.

Off as the 5-1 second in the 10-horse field, Madone rated in ninth early, began to make serious headway leaving the far turn, and kicked boldly for home while five wide.

“That was the plan, to lay back then come running,” Hernandez said. “Simon said to keep her covered up and save ground. That’s what I did. On the turn (for home), I took her out and she gave it to me. She really came running. Nice win for sure.”

Going Global wound up a length better than Tetragonal in third. Karakatsie, Jibber Jabber, Dramatizer, Freedom Flyer, Pizzazz, Nimbostratus, and Equilove rounded out the finish.

A two-time juvenile stakes heroine, and winner of the Senorita (G3) in early May in her seasonal opener, Madone was exiting a disappointing sixth to Going Global in the May 22 Honeymoon (G3). She bounced back with a career-best performance, improving her overall record to 7-4-0-0, and has now bankrolled more than $331,800.

“She’s got a nice turn of foot, and she’s such a good filly,” Callaghan said. “I blame myself (for sixth-place result in the Honeymoon); I ran her back too quickly. She bounced, it’s as simple as that. We’ll now look to the Del Mar Oaks ([G1] on Aug. 21).” 

Bred in Kentucky by Glendalough LLC, Madone sold for $125,000 at the 2020 OBS March two-year-old sale. She’s the first stakes winner from the Cherokee Run mare Indian Love Call.