American Patriot marches to course record in Kent

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 16th, 2016

WinStar Farm’s homebred American Patriot may have run himself into consideration for the Secretariat (G1) with a course record-setting victory in Saturday’s $200,250 Kent (G3) at Delaware Park.

Sent off the 8-5 favorite after a smart allowance tally at Belmont Park, the Todd Pletcher trainee didn’t get away cleanly, but soon secured a good spot in the slipstream of pacesetter He’ll Pay. In contrast, Inspector Lynley and Converge found themselves at the rear of the field early and faced a tall order trying to make up ground.

The 17-1 He’ll Pay set steady fractions of :24.61, :48.20 and 1:12.00 under a typically heady ride by Florent Geroux. He had saved plenty for the stretch drive, spurting to the mile mark in 1:35.68.

But American Patriot had his move covered. With Jose Ortiz angling off the rail, the favorite took aim on He’ll Pay, caught him in midstretch, and pulled 1 1/2 lengths clear. American Patriot blitzed his last eighth in :11.51 to complete 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.19. That shaved .08 off the old mark of 1:47.27 established by Optimizer in the 2012 running of the Kent.

Inspector Lynley was a real eye-catcher in third. Spinning out widest of all leaving the far turn, the son of Lemon Drop Kid and Criminologist leveled off beautifully down the lane and gained on the top two. Considering how fast American Patriot finished up, that was quite a rally by Inspector Lynley, who just missed second by a diminishing neck. A Janney/Phipps homebred in the Shug McGaughey barn, Inspector Lynley remains a very promising prospect going forward. A step up to 1 1/4 miles could bring out the best in him, along with maturity.

Converge, last through the opening six furlongs, also improved his position late to grab fourth. But note that he saved ground compared to Inspector Lynley, and still couldn’t outkick him. Keystoneforvictory, Mighty Mo, and Madtap rounded out the order under the wire, while Highly Prized was scratched.

American Patriot is beginning to live up to his fine pedigree. The War Front colt was produced by the Tiznow mare Life Well Lived, a winning full sister to 2009 Dubai World Cup (G1) romper Well Armed. Life Well Lived is also a half-sister to Grade 3 vixen Witty and Grade 1-placed Helsinki, from the further family of two-time Japanese Horse of the Year Symboli Kris S.

Unraced at two, American Patriot finished a close, hard-charging third in his first two outings at Gulfstream Park this winter. The blaze-faced dark bay broke his maiden in last-to-first fashion at Keeneland, but found the May 7 American Turf (G2) a case of too much, too soon and wound up a slow-starting 10th. His sights were accordingly lowered at Belmont June 25, and he responded with an emphatic stalk-and-pounce success in a snappy 1:46.68 for 1 1/8 miles. American Patriot rattled off a final eighth in :11.21 in that allowance, in a foreshadowing of his potent kick in the Kent.

American Patriot toured the ring as a Keeneland September yearling, but didn’t reach his reserve when bidding topped out at $850,000. WinStar thus held onto the promising youngster, whose resume now reads 6-3-0-2, $212,800.