July 16, 2024

Measured Time comes of age in Manhattan

Measured Time winning the Manhattan (G1) at Saratoga (Photo by Coglianese Photos)
Measured Time winning the Manhattan (G1) at Saratoga (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Godolphin’s homebred Measured Time starred in his first transatlantic venture in Saturday’s $1 million Manhattan (G1) at Saratoga, officially joining his Breeders’ Cup-winning half-brother, Rebel’s Romance, in the globetrotters club. The Charlie Appleby trainee topped an all-Godolphin exacta with Nations Pride.

“This was our most confident race of the meet this weekend,” said Appleby, who had yet to win during the 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

His team included Saturday’s Poker (G3) runner-up Mysterious Night; Jaipur (G1) third Star of Mystery and fifth Mischief Magic; and a pair of unplaced favorites over the first two days, Siskany in Thursday’s Belmont Gold Cup (G2) and English Rose in Friday’s New York (G1).

“We’re just delighted to get one across the line today,” Appleby said. “It was a long weekend, but he (Measured Time) was the most important horse of the team. I can’t thank everyone here at Saratoga enough, and everyone in America. They’ve been great and tremendously supportive.”

A lightly-raced four-year-old, Measured Time flashed serious potential during the Dubai Carnival. The Frankel colt turned the Al Rashidiya (G2)/Jebel Hatta (G1) double, and finished a creditable fourth in the deep Dubai Turf (G1). Taking his game further afield was a new challenge, but he aced it like a seasoned professional.

“Measured Time is a horse that is, as you certainly know well, a half-brother to Rebel’s Romance,” Appleby commented. “We’ve earmarked this for some time thinking that the American tracks would suit him. Obviously, we saw what he did in Dubai. That kind of tracks, nice level tracks, suit him. He’s a big striding horse. It’s a decision we made and then it was let him get on with it today and try and make our own run rather than get him in a tangle. You try and organize a horse like him and he finds it hard. He’s happy going on.”

Measured Time showed good tactical speed from the outside post, leading through the first quarter in :23.14. Then jockey William Buick eased the 3.10-1 second choice back, allowing Strong Quality to take over. But Measured Time was still handily attending through fractions of :48.34 and 1:11.64. On the far turn, he put Strong Quality away and set sail for home.

Despite drifting out in the lane, Measured Time remained in total control for a convincing two-length tally. His final time for 1 3/16 miles on the firm Mellon turf, 1:51.94, was just off the 1:51.40 course mark set by Say the Word on Aug. 14, 2020.

“It was always the plan to go forward, sit forward,” Buick said. “He’s a horse you never feel like you are going quick enough, so I was happy where I was. He was a bit competitive early on, but I always felt he was in a nice rhythm, and he’s a real powerful galloper, as you saw there. He’s still got a bit to learn, like he ran out on the home bend and it doesn’t feel like he’s a finished article just yet, but he sure has the raw talent.

“I wanted to build him up early. As you saw, the further he was going, the better he was going. I’m delighted and I think he’s a horse that could reach some bigger targets here in North America.

“Every time I rode him, whether it be in the UK or Dubai prior to today, I always felt he was a horse that just gallops them into the ground. And that is what he did today.”

Nations Pride prevailed in a blanket finish for the minors, a neck up on Ohana Honor and Far Bridge, who dead-heated for third. Another neck astern in fifth was Program Trading. The slight 2.75-1 favorite, Program Trading appeared to be in a good spot turning for home, only to flatten out.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained Al Riffa never looked like getting involved in sixth, likely preferring a softer surface. Next came I’m Very Busy and Strong Quality. Kertez, who entered because of the forecast rain, scratched.

British-bred Measured Time is now a millionaire with $1,279,637 in earnings from an 8-6-1-0 line. Unraced at two, the bay won his first three starts before a runner-up effort in his stakes debut in the Nov. 6 Floodlit S. at Kempton. That 1 1/2-mile trip was a bit beyond him, so he cut back when reappearing at Meydan, and promptly resumed his progress.

“We were confident stepping up to the (nearly) 10 (furlongs) today,” Appleby said, mentioning the Arlington Million (G1) as a potential target. “We feel he could stretch out to a mile and a half. We’ll take the Breeders’ Cup (Turf [G1]) into consideration. 

 “We know the family, and we’re confident that as time goes on he’s going to repay us. Thankfully, so far today he’s doing that in spades.”

Half-brother Rebel’s Romance, currently riding a four-race winning streak, recently added the May 26 Champions & Chater Cup (G1) at Sha Tin. Rebel’s Romance is slated to appear at the Spa himself later this summer in the Sword Dancer (G1).

Their dam, the stakes-placed Street Cry mare Minidress, is a full sister to Group 3-winning stayer Volcanic Sky. Minidress is a daughter of multiple Group 3 victress Short Skirt, who placed in the 2006 Oaks (G1) at Epsom as well as the Yorkshire Oaks (G1).