January 29, 2023

Tribhuvan wires United Nations; Great Island flies late in Matchmaker

Tribhuvan winning the United Nations Stakes (Photo by Nikki Sherman/EQUI-PHOTO)

Trainer Chad Brown swept both graded turf stakes on Haskell Day at Monmouth Park, and his winners displayed contrasting styles. After Great Island flew from last to get up in the Matchmaker S. (G3), Tribhuvan put on a frontrunning show in the United Nations S. (G1).

United Nations S. (G1)

Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, and Michael J. Caruso’s Tribhuvan continued his sparkling form as the 1.70-1 favorite. The French import is better than ever since resurfacing as a first-time gelding in the May 1 Fort Marcy S. (G2) at Belmont Park. Showing newfound speed, Tribhuvan led throughout to post a 10-1 upset in his first graded win. He nearly pulled the same feat at 15-1 in the June 5 Manhattan S. (G1), only to succumb to his star stablemate Domestic Spending.

With no Domestic Spending to worry him in the $515,000 United Nations, Tribhuvan enjoyed a stroll around the circuit under a well-judged ride by Flavien Prat. The son of Toronado hustled to the front from the outside post 10, and he was already four lengths clear through an opening quarter in :24.09 on the firm turf. Tribhuvan maintained a daylight advantage despite slowing the tempo down in :49.32 and 1:15.47.

After the mile in 1:40.16, the field had drawn nearer, but Tribhuvan was just giving his foes false hope. Once Prat gave him the signal to pick it up, the bay kicked away again to a comfortable two-length victory. Tribhuvan covered 1 3/8 miles in 2:15.48, upping his line to 19-5-3-3, $661,165.

The 23-1 Imperador, who had raced in fourth early, passed the 61-1 stalker Epic Bromance for the runner-up spot. Serve the King finished with interest in fourth, giving Brown both bookends of the superfecta. Next came Glynn County; the 2-1 Arklow, who clipped heels on the final turn when well behind the pace; Winters Back, who was well placed in second but unable to capitalize; Fantasioso; Brown’s Chilean import, Master Piece; and Oceans Map.

Tribhuvan was bred by Jean Charles Haimet, Elza Petit, and Hannah Petit in France. Purchased by Guy Petit for €30,000 as a weanling at Arqana December, he RNA’d for €58,000 as a yearling at the same firm’s October sale. Tribhuvan was initially trained by Henri-Alex Pantall. Winless until his 12th attempt, at Compiegne in September 2019, Tribhuvan made it two straight in a Chantilly handicap. He was then acquired by his new connections and exported that fall, joining Brown for 2020.

In his U.S. debut in a Gulfstream Park allowance, Tribhuvan rallied for a promising third to Largent. His first graded try in last year’s Fort Marcy was a non-event, as his rein broke and he had to be pulled up. Tribhuvan regrouped to take a Belmont allowance after a protracted duel with Ballagh Rocks, only to be sidelined for 10 months until his Fort Marcy comeback.

Tribhuvan is a “cousin” of another major winner this season, Prix Ganay (G1) hero Mare Australis. Their dams are half-sisters. Tribhuvan is out of the Next Desert mare Mahendra, who is also a half to Group scorers Macleya and Montclair, from the family of classic winners Mystic Lips (in Germany) and Eishin Flash (in Japan).

Matchmaker S. (G3)

Earlier, Alpha Delta Stables’ Great Island swamped stablemate Kalifornia Queen and even-money Juliet Foxtrot with a superb rally in the $150,000 Matchmaker. Anchored in last for most of the way, the Scat Daddy mare surged into the picture once deploying her long, raking stride in deep stretch to win going away by a half-length.

The 4.40-1 Great Island was a handful pulling early on, and jockey Joel Rosario had to get her to switch off at the rear. Up front, 65-1 longshot No Mercy Percy led through fractions of :25.07, :49.56, and 1:12.86. Juliet Foxtrot drafted just behind the pacesetter, flanked by Nay Lady Nay who bumped the favorite when moving up to pocket her on the clubhouse turn. But there was room on the inside whenever Juliet Foxtrot desired, for No Mercy Percy was racing a few paths off the rail.

Cornering into the stretch, Juliet Foxtrot seized that opening and shot clear in what appeared to be a decisive play. Kalifornia Queen gamely pursued into second, while Great Island was just angling out around the field. As soon as she organized herself, Great Island took off with irresistible momentum.

Conversely, Juliet Foxtrot was losing steam inside the final furlong. Kalifornia Queen was steadily gaining on the favorite, but Great Island mowed them both down to complete 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.89. Kalifornia Queen nabbed Juliet Foxtrot by the same margin of a half-length.

The top three, in addition to purse money, will receive a stallion season courtesy of sponsor WinStar Farm. The WinStar stallions on offer are Audible, Global Campaign, and Tom’s d’Etat.

Nay Lady Nay, the defending Matchmaker champion for Brown, faded another 4 1/4 lengths back in fourth. Always Shopping was a nonthreatening fifth, and No Mercy Percy retreated to last. Counterparty Risk, who would have been Brown’s fourth runner, was scratched.

Great Island brought a strong piece of form off a third to Mean Mary and Vigilantes Way in the May 15 Gallorette S. (G3). She had finished second to Mean Mary in her unveiling in the fall of her sophomore year at Keeneland. After an 11-month layoff, Great Island wasted no time in breaking her maiden in her comeback at Churchill Downs and clearing her first-level allowance condition back at Keeneland.

The lightly-raced chestnut then graduated to listed company over the winter at Gulfstream Park. Placed in last December’s Via Borghese S. in her stakes debut, Great Island got up in the off-the-turf Suwannee River S. Feb. 6 despite stumbling at the start. Her graded breakthrough at Monmouth advanced the five-year-old’s scorecard to 7-4-1-2, $275,604.

Bred by Ben P. Walden Jr. and Larry Taylor in Kentucky, Great Island sold for $160,000 as a weanling at Keeneland November and $300,000 at the same venue as a September yearling. Her dam, the Rahy mare Voyage, is an unraced half-sister to multiple Grade 1 stars Point of Entry and Pine Island. This is the rich family of 2005 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) romper Pleasant Home, Guarana, European sprint legend Dayjur, and Hall of Famer Sky Beauty.