July 13, 2024

Program Trading sinks Naval Power in Turf Classic

Program Trading (inside) defeats Naval Power in the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs (Photo by Horsephotos.com)
Program Trading (inside) defeats Naval Power in the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

The $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) served up Kentucky Derby Day drama at Churchill Downs, as Program Trading bravely rallied up the inside to deny Naval Power in a photo-finish. Under a drive by jockey Flavien Prat, the 4-1 chance handed trainer Chad Brown a record fourth win in this stakes, and furthered the grip of Klaravich Stables as the leading owner in the race’s history.

The Brown-trained 2-1 favorite, I’m Very Busy, was a flat seventh. His fans had cause for concern when he acted up in the gate. Backed out and reloaded, I’m Very Busy didn’t fire.

The 3-1 Naval Power, ridden by international legend Frankie Dettori for Godolphin, enjoyed an ideal trip. Stalking pacesetter Never Surprised through tepid fractions of :24.48, :49.51, and 1:14.36 on the good course, the Charlie Appleby trainee delivered a broadside to hit the front at the top of the lane.

Program Trading, who had been well placed just behind the leaders, first had to muscle his way past the retreating Never Surprised to get a seam. Once gaining that inside path, he attacked Naval Power. They grappled down the stretch, with Naval Power listing in toward Program Trading and exchanging bumps.

The contact didn’t intimidate Program Trading. The British-bred son of Lope de Vega, channeling the fighting spirit of great-grandsire Giant’s Causeway, kept coming and prevailed in a desperate finish. The official margin was a head.

Program Trading covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.30, joining the Klaravich/Brown honor roll that comprises Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar (2019), Digital Age (2020), and dead-heater Domestic Spending (2021). The latter had to share the spoils with Colonel Liam, and the 2024 result came close to being inseparable as well.

Webslinger made a catapulting move out wide, but ultimately flattened in third, another two lengths astern. Integration worked his way into fourth, while Far Bridge raced as if in need of more distance in fifth. Siege of Boston, I’m Very Busy, Anglophile, Never Surprised, and Cellist concluded the order of finish. Never Explain was scratched.

Program Trading was picking up right where he left off when capturing the Dec. 2 Hollywood Derby (G1). Also the hero of the Saratoga Derby (G1), the bay sustained his only loss when runner-up to course record-setting Integration in the Virginia Derby (G3). His resume reads 6-5-1-0, $1,284,250.

Bred by retired trainer Luca Cumani’s Fittocks Stud in partnership with Arrow Farm & Stud, Program Trading was purchased for $356,711 as a Tattersalls October yearling. His dam, the Oasis Dream mare Dreamlike, is a half-sister to 2014 Park Hill (G2) winner Silk Sari, from the immediate family of 2023 VRC Oaks (G1) queen Zardozi.

Program Trading’s third dam is Gossamer, a full sister to Barathea, both classic-winning highweights for Cumani. Barathea famously won the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs with Dettori. Going on 20 years later, his maternal relative denied Dettori a big win beneath the Twin Spires.