Wake Forest cuts them down in Man o’ War

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

May 14th, 2016

Trainer Chad Brown appeared to hold a strong hand in Saturday’s $400,000 Man o’ War (G1), saddling one-third of the nine-horse field. His team represented both quantity and quality, and a bit of value too, for German-bred 2-1 favorite Wake Forest denied his 18-1 stablemate Money Multiplier in an all-Brown exacta that was good for $101.50.

A multiple Group 3 winner in his homeland, Wake Forest was a decent sixth in last summer’s Arlington Million (G1) in his finale for trainer Andreas Wohler. Subsequently sold to Bradley Thoroughbreds Brokerage for $156,982 at the Arqana Arc Sale, he returned stateside for new owners Michael Dubb, Sheep Pond Partners, and Bethlehem Stables.

Wake Forest’s profile was just the sort to fit Brown’s program. After missing by a head to Kaigun off the bench in the April 2 Pan American (G2) at Gulfstream Park, and first try at 1 1/2 miles, the breakthrough came Saturday in the 1 3/8-mile Man o’ War.

"Getting a race under his belt, running such a hard race coming off a layoff and then having six weeks helped," Brown said. "The whole thing came together nicely. Everything worked out for this horse today. He's got a lot of talent, Grade 1 talent."

Off a step slow from the outside post 9, Wake Forest had clear sailing to angle over onto the inside, where he bided his time well off the pace. Front-running Go Around was prompted by Money Multiplier through fractions of :24.24, :49.24, 1:13.83, and 1:38.22 on the firm inner turf. When Money Multiplier made his bid and struck the front in the stretch, Wake Forest was full of run, needing only a gap. Hall of Famer John Velazquez extricated him in time, and his turn of foot was decisive. Quickening on the spot, Wake Forest overwhelmed Money Multiplier by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 2:12.94.

"We know he doesn't break really well," Velazquez said, "so it was a perfect opportunity to put him behind horses and save ground and hopefully, down the lane, we'd get some sort of seam where we could let him run. When he got the little seam he just exploded."

Can’thelpbelieving, third throughout, reported home another length astern. Up With the Birds followed his Graham Motion-trained stablemate in fourth. Next came Closing Bell; Kaigun; Brown’s other hope, Morandi; Go Around; and Biz the Nurse.

Wake Forest’s first top-level victory advanced his record to 13-7-1-1, $603,326. For more on his background in Germany, including videos, see his Arlington Million scouting report.

Next on the agenda is a return to 1 1/4 miles for the June 11 Manhattan (G1).

"I think he can cut back further in the Manhattan," Brown said. "I have to see what group of horses that I would point towards there, but this horse would be at the top of the list."

Photo courtesy NYRA/Coglianese Photography.