Kasaqui justifies 3-1 favoritism in Arlington ‘Cap

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July 10th, 2016

Wimborne Farm’s Kasaqui put himself into the Arlington Million (G1) picture with a convincing victory in Saturday’s $125,000 Arlington H. (G3). Trained by Ignacio Correas IV and ridden by Robby Albarado, the 3-1 favorite swept from just off the pace to defeat Roman Approval by 1 1/4 lengths.

Kasaqui was happy to revert to the hunter’s role after playing the hunted in the Wise Dan (G2). The Argentine-bred was an opportunistic leader in that June 18 feature under the Churchill Downs lights, and got run down late by Pleuven.

This time, Go Around served as the pacesetter and established splits of :24.90, :50.15 and 1:14.52 on the firm turf. Roman Approval sat in second, with Kasaqui a couple of further lengths back in third. Rounding the far turn, Kasaqui began to wind up, and the gray forged clear in the stretch to notch his first black-type tally.

It’s instructive to compare Kasaqui’s final time of 1:55.62 with Faufiler’s 1:56.12 in the Modesty (G3) over the same 1 3/16-mile trip. Although the bulk of that differential came courtesy of a marginally quicker pace, Kasaqui’s final three-sixteenths (:16.84) also shaded Faufiler’s (:16.87).

Runner-up Roman Approval held Messi at bay by a length. Messi, last early, made an encouraging move in the midst of rivals and loomed dangerously in upper stretch. Yet the German import didn’t kick on as he’d hinted – “flattered only to deceive,” as British analyst Brough Scott might put it – and wound up third. My patience is wearing thin with him, which means he’ll turn in a career best for Graham Motion shortly. Go Around retreated to fourth of nine.

Kasaqui improved his resume to 19-5-7-1, $196,434. Not quite up to earning black-type at home, the son of Lasting Approval was nevertheless was fourth in the 2014 Gran Premio General San Martin (G1). He joined Correas for a 2016 campaign, and after springing a 30-1 upset in a Keeneland allowance second time out, tried the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day. Kasaqui was drafting in a good spot when he clipped heels and fell, but thankfully escaped disaster. He was back in action in the aforementioned Wise Dan, and reached a new career high on Saturday.

Quotes from Arlington

Robby Albarado (jockey, Kasaqui, winner): “That was our plan to get a target in front of us. He finished up well last time on the lead, but he’s better with a target.”

Ignacio Correas, IV (trainer, Kasaqui, winner): “Nobody wanted the lead [in the Wise Dan], so we got it that day. The plan today was for Robby to get him something to chase. The horse and Robby did perfect. Great plan. He gets a little bit bored on the lead.”

Corey Lanerie (jockey, Roman Approval, second): Perfect trip, sitting second, he had a little more than me. I thought he would be forwardly placed.  Actually, I thought the winner would be in front of me, but I don't know what happened.  He chose to sit right off of me, and it worked for him.”

Jose Valdivia, Jr. (jockey, Messi, third): “He went to lugging in down the lane. I thought we had a dream run with him, and the seas opened up for me passing the half-mile pole. Take nothing away from that winner – when Robby pushed on the gas, he was gone.”

James Graham (jockey, Go Around, fourth): “I had a beautiful trip, went slow, probably could have made a little more use of him but who knows, the winner was impressive. [My horse] did everything right, he’s a cool horse.”

Photo courtesy Four Footed Fotos