Saturday, September 26, 2009 12:00 AM
By Eric Wing
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 26, 2009 . . . Canadian shipper El Brujo, the tepid 5-2 favorite, made a furious stretch rally under Garrett Gomez to catch Brass Bay in deep stretch and capture the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3) by half a length in 1:09.04. It was the second of three stakes wins from as many mounts for Gomez, who won the Kentucky Cup Distaff earlier aboard Indescribable and the Kentucky Cup Classic with Furthest Land one race after the Sprint.
Owned by Windways Farm, El Brujo broke in relaxed fashion from his rail post and settled in last place in the well-bunched field of 10. Behind early fractions of :22.00 for the quarter and :44.70 for the half set by Lookn Mighty Fast, El Brujo stayed along the rail until turning for home, when Gomez swung him outside and commenced his powerful late run. Brass Bay, a 20-1 proposition, was prominent throughout the early running and assumed command in midstretch before being collared late by El Brujo. Turfiste (8-1) finished 1 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up and a nose in front of 15-1 shot His Greatness, who checked in fourth.
"He ran huge," said winning trainer Malcolm Pierce, who watched the race from Woodbine, where he had four horses entered today. "I was a little worried down the backside because I didn't expect him to be that far back, but I guess Garrett knew what he was doing because he did a great job getting him up. The plans are to bring him back to Woodbine tomorrow morning. If he comes out of it really good we would probably look at the Perryville in October [Oct. 17] at Keeneland."
Turfway Park-based trainer William Connelly saddled El Brujo in Pierce’s absence.
"He showed some speed leaving the gate and I didn't want to interfere too much with him, so I just sat up on him," said Gomez. "When I angled him out, it was like I was on a fresh horse. He kicked on nicely. He did everything I asked of him."
Sal Gonzalez Jr., rider of second-place finisher Brass Bay, was understandably disappointed by the outcome. "He's got natural speed, and we tried to save all we could for the end," he said. "I thought we were home free."
A 3-year-old song of Candy Ride, El Brujo now has five wins, four seconds, and one third in 12 lifetime starts for earnings of $415,956. The gelding returned $7.60 to win in the Sprint.
The complete order of finish in the Sprint: El Brujo, Brass Bay, Turfiste, His Greatness, Lookn Mighty Fast, Big Push, Heart of a King, Hamazing Destiny, Dynamite Bob and Guam Typhoon.