Connect wins one for dad in Curlin

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 29th, 2016

It was a Chad Brown-trained exacta in Friday's $100,000 Curlin at Saratoga as Connect, a son of the race's namesake, repelled an inside bid from Gift Box through the final three furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile test for three-year-olds and won by a length over his more fancied stablemate.

Holding a narrow lead through fractions of :24.06, :48.43, and 1:12.41, Connect left room along the rail for even-money favorite Gift Box to challenge down the stretch. After seeing the margin whittled down to about a neck a furlong out, Connect found more and put Gift Box away late, finishing in a time of 1:48.69 on a fast track.

Owned by Paul Pompa Jr. and ridden by John Velazquez, Connect paid $5.50 as the 8-5 second choice in a field of seven. Gift Box was three lengths clear of third-place finisher Forever d'Oro.

This was only the fourth career start for Connect. Third in his lone start at two, a 6 1/2-furlong maiden at Aqueduct in December, the colt returned to action May 7 and won in the mud by four lengths at Belmont. He stretched out to 1 1/16 miles the following month and won as he pleased by 3 3/4 lengths in first-level allowance company.

"This horse [Connected] is lightly raced but we've always thought a lot of him," Brown said. "He's developed in each race. Running two turns today and being the pacesetter to be able to hold on and prevail he showed a lot.
"Gift Box ran a good race as well. He's coming off a longer layoff so he might have needed this race and was stuck along the rail but he performed well. With both the horses running one-two in any order that's what we were hoping for. I hate to run them both against each other but with limited opportunities I thought this race worked out well for both of them as a prep heading towards the Travers (G1)."

A $150,000 Fasig-Tipton July yearling, Connect was reared by Bullville Belle, a Holy Bull mare also responsible for multiple stakes winner Tani Maru.

(Teresa Genaro photo)