Horse Racing

Trip to California Bolsters Proxy’s Breeders’ Cup Hopes

It worked for Vino Rosso  .

Time will tell if Godolphin’s Proxy  becomes as fortunate.

In 2019, the last time the Breeders’ Cup World Championships were held at Santa Anita Park, trainer Todd Pletcher and the connections of the New York-based Vino Rosso sent the son of Curlin   to California for a test run over the racetrack at The Great Race Place.

How it turned out was that Vino Rosso won the May 27 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) and then returned to Santa Anita five months later and turned in a career-best performance in winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) to close out his career.

Fast forward to this spring when trainer Michael Stidham and the Godolphin team were assembling plans for the homebred grade 1-winning son of Tapit  .

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Taking a page from the Vino Rosso playbook, Stidham shipped Proxy to California for the March 4 Santa Anita Handicap (G1).

Eighth in the field of nine after the opening half-mile, Proxy closed swiftly in the stretch to finish second, a neck behind Stiletto Boy in the mile and a quarter stakes.

Should all go well for Proxy in the Sept. 2 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga Race Course and his subsequent training, Stidham expressed hope that the flight to California pays a dividend.

“We went out to Santa Anita with the intention of getting a race over the track, knowing that the Breeders’ Cup Classic would be there,” Stidham said about the winner of last year’s Clark Stakes (G1) and $2 million earner. “We wanted to see if he could handle the track and he did. We know the mile-and-a-quarter distance is a benefit to him.”

After that promising effort in California, Proxy will get another swing at a 10-furlong grade 1 stakes in Saturday’s JCGC, a “Win and You’re In” stakes offering a guaranteed, fees-paid spot in the BC Classic.

“Just like the Santa Anita race,” Stidham said. “Having that extra furlong in the Gold Cup is going to fall right into his wheelhouse.”



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