Christophe Clement charge Decorated Invader wasn’t in the picture early, but was in full view at Woodbine when it counted most, rallying stoutly to take Sunday’s Grade 1, $251,300 Summer Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event.
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, William Freeman and William Sandbrook, Decorated Invader didn’t have the smoothest of starts in the one-mile Summer, getting away last of 10 (Secret Stash was scratched) in the two-year-old event.
It was 109-1 longshot Cadet Connelly, under Pablo Morales, who crossed over from the outside gate to grab the early lead. The son of Grey Swallow, who won a mile and 70 yard main track race at Woodbine on September 8 to break his maiden, took the field through an opening quarter-mile in :24.26 over an E.P. Taylor Turf Course listed as ‘yielding.’
Irad Ortiz Jr. and Decorated Invader, seventh after the opening quarter, were still seventh after a half-mile timed in :48.43, as Cadet Connelly still led the way, holding a two-length advantage over Pleasecallmeback.
Cadet Connelly continued to grind away on the front end, one-length to the good over Proven Strategies at the stretch call, as Ortiz asked Decorated Invader for his best run.
The duo eventually wore down the game front-runner to cross the wire 1 ¾-length victors. Cadet Connelly, trained by Teresa Connelly and owned by Endeavor Bloodstock, headed Vitalogy for runner-up honours. Proven Strategies was a further head back in fourth.
The final time for the Summer was 1:36.34.
“We were just looking for him to relax in the first part of the race and then let him run in the end,” said Ortiz. “We know he can run so we just want to relax him and teach him the first part.”
That education ultimately paid off with a winner’s circle trip, and a likely trip to California.
“I know he broke a touch poorly but with the rain we had and everything, I was pretty comfortable he was moving well and was happy where he was,” said assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul. “We were just very confident with our ride. He was just biding his time, and he showed up today.”
Next stop, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile?
“We talked about it beforehand,” said Lorieul. “It would be the obvious next target for him. Today was the big test, and he completed it so we’re very happy for the partnership of West Point.”
The son of Declaration of War just missed in his debut at Saratoga on July 13, closing strongly to finish second in a 1 1/16-mile turf race. A month later, the Kentucky-bred broke his maiden via a 3 ¼-length victory, also at 1 1/16-miles on the Saratoga grass.
“He’s only had three races so I think he’s getting better and better,” offered Ortiz. “Today, I really liked the way he did it. He was floating in a little bit in the stretch, he always does, but hopefully he learns and if he just keeps a little more straight in the stretch that would be great. He keeps learning.”
Decorated Invader paid $6.80, $4 and $3. The exactor with Cadet Connelly ($55.20, $17.20) came back $341.80. Vitalogy finished off a triactor worth $2,727.20, with fourth-place Proven Strategies completing a $1 superfecta worth $9,773.50.