Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has been a familiar face on the Kentucky Derby trail in recent years, and it looks like he might be bound for Louisville again with Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen, who turned in an impressive performance to win the $200,000 Nashua Stakes (gr. II) on November 4th at Aqueduct.
“He was a little upset warming up. He didn’t want to be around the pony too much today,” winning jockey Junior Alvarado was quoted as saying in an article on the New York Racing Association website. “Once we got to the gate he didn’t want to load and inside he kept rocking back and forth, but when we got to break I just tried to get him in the best position. After the half-mile pole it was all him. He took me on a nice ride, all I tried to do was not fall off.”
After racing wide around the turn, Mohaymen took command from pace-setting Magna Light and opened up a two-length lead passing the eighth pole. Flexibility and Sail Ahoy tried to put in late runs but were unable to seriously challenge Mohaymen, who cruised home in front by 1 3/4 lengths while running his final quarter-mile in :25 1/5 seconds.
“We were a little worried about the kickback, how he would break, and the others that have had more racing experience than him,” said McLaughlin. “But he’s a very talented horse and I’m glad he lived up to the betting public’s odds.”
A son of Tapit out of the Dixie Union mare Justwhistledixie, Mohaymen’s pedigree might be slightly geared toward races shorter than the Kentucky Derby, but both Tapit and Dixie Union have sired Belmont Stakes winners, so there is also a strong possibility that Mohaymen could relish the ten-furlong distance of the Derby. In any case, the talent that he has displayed while winning his first two starts has stamped him as a colt to watch during the next six months.
“We definitely have Derby fever,” said McLaughlin.
Mohaymen’s next start is expected to come in either the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs or the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct, both on November 28th, with the Remsen the more likely of the pair.
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