July 18, 2024

Olympiad much the best in New Orleans Classic

Olympiad wins the New Orleans Classic
Olympiad wins the New Orleans Classic (Photo by Hodges Photography)

Olympiad turned in another tour de force at Fair Grounds on Saturday when taking the $485,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) by two lengths as a 3-5 favorite.

Victorious in the Feb. 19 Mineshaft (G3) while setting a 1 1/16-mile track record of 1:42.01, Olympiad narrowly missed breaking another track mark in the New Orleans. His 1 1/8-mile time of 1:47.74 on a fast strip was only .10 seconds off the track record set by Nates Mineshaft in the 2012 New Orleans.

Olympiad’s trip Saturday was reminiscent of his journey in the Mineshaft. A tracking second behind Promise Keeper, who cut out fractions of :23.69, :47.25, and 1:11.45, Olympiad surged past that rival approaching the eighth pole and outclassed his five rivals thereafter under Junior Alvarado.

“He put himself in a good spot. If no one wanted the lead, I could have took it if I wanted to, but it was easier for him to have a target so he wouldn’t lose interest. It worked out great,” Alvarado said.

Owned by Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable, and LNJ Foxwoods, Olympiad returned $3.20. Proxy rallied for second, 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Promise Keeper. Super Stock finished fourth and was followed by Happy American and 2021 New Orleans winner Chess Chief.

This was the third win in the New Orleans Classic, formerly the New Orleans Handicap, for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. He first won the race in 1985 with Westheimer, and followed up 33 years later with Good Samaritan.

“We’d like to get him a Grade 1,” said Mott when talking about future plans for Olympiad.

This was the fifth win in eight starts for Olympiad. A winner second out at Saratoga as a two-year-old over future graded performers Caddo River and Greatest Honour, he was out of action for a year following that effort. Book-ended by a pair of allowance wins following his return last fall was a fourth in the Cigar Mile (G1), his only stakes attempt prior to the Mineshaft.

Bred in Kentucky by Emory Hamilton and sold for $700,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, Olympiad is by Speightstown and out of the Grade 3-placed Tokyo Time, a Medaglia d’Oro half-sister to Grade 2 heroine Hungry Island and Grade 3 scorer Soaring Empire.

Grade 1 winners hailing from this female family include Preservationist, Chic Shirine, Serra Lake, Keen Ice, Verrazano, and Somali Lemonade.