Hidden Connection (f, 2, Connect–C J's Gal, by Awesome Again) stalked and pounced her way to a dominating victory in the 'Win and You're In' GIII Pocahontas S. at Churchill Downs Saturday evening. Mama Rina (Gormley) was second; Goddess of Fire (Mineshaft) was third.
The 9-5 favorite got over from her outside draw and was three wide rounding the clubhouse turn. She found an ideal spot to press the early leader from second through fractions of :24.26 and :48.62. She took over within her own restraint approaching the quarter pole and put on a show down the stretch in her two-turn debut to win by an eye-catching 9 1/4 lengths, setting a new stakes record.
“She was working at Keeneland this spring before we went to Colonial,” said trainer Bret Calhoun. “When she was working there I thought she could be special. Then we went to Colonial and she won so impressively on debut. She didn't have as much experience as some of the horses in this race but she backed up that win very well. If she comes out of things OK you'd have to think she's on to the Breeders' Cup.”
Hidden Connection, a flashy runaway debut winner with a strong 84 Beyer Speed Figure stopping the timer in 1:02 1/5 going 5 1/2 furlongs at Colonial Aug. 17, is the first stakes winner for her freshman sire (by Curlin). Black Type Thoroughbreds joined the ownership line following her debut romp for Hidden Brook Farm.
The final time for 1 1/16 miles for the Pocahontas was 1:43.78.
Hidden Connection is the first black-type winner for her freshman sire, who stands at Lane's End near Versailles in Central Kentucky. Winner of the 2016 GI Cigar Mile, Connect is a son of Curlin and has 120 current 2-year-olds. Twelve are winners to date, with Queen Camilla and Kneesnhips joining Hidden Connection as stakes horses, but only the latter is undefeated with a graded win on her CV. The winner's dam has a February-foaled weanling filly by Palace Malice and was bred back to Frosted. C J's Gal was sold as a sophomore at the 2016 Keeneland January sale, where she brought $9,500 from St. Simon Place, breeder of Hidden Connection. A daughter of Awesome Again, damsire of 85 stakes winners and who also counts the aforementioned Queen Camilla as an additional stakes horse out of one of his daughters, C J's Gal is out of a mare who is a half-sister to 2013 GI King's Bishop S. winner Capo Bastone (Street Boss).
Saturday, Churchill Downs
POCAHONTAS S.-GIII, $299,700, Churchill Downs, 9-18, 2yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:43.78, ft.
1–HIDDEN CONNECTION, 118, f, 2, by Connect
1st Dam: C J's Gal, by Awesome Again
2nd Dam: C J's Leelee, by Mizzen Mast
3rd Dam: Fight to Love, by Fit to Fight
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($49,000
RNA Wlg '19 KEENOV; $40,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP; $55,000 RNA
2yo '21 OBSAPR; $85,000 2yo '21 OBSOPN). O-Hidden Brook
Farm & Black Type Thoroughbreds; B-St. Simon Place (KY);
T-W. Bret Calhoun; J-Reylu Gutierrez. $177,525. Lifetime
Record: 2-2-0-0, $207,525. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for
the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. *First SW for
freshman sire (by Curlin).
2–Mama Rina, 118, f, 2, Gormley–Honky Tonk Rose, by
Forest Wildcat. ($31,000 Ylg '20 KEEJAN; $65,000 Ylg '20
KEESEP). O-Harold Lerner LLC, AWC Stables, Scott K. Akman,
Nehoc Stables, Paul Braverman, & Magdalena Racing; B-Lee
McMillin, Randy Faulkner & Joe Travelsted (KY); T-Kenneth
3–Goddess of Fire, 118, f, 2, Mineshaft–Feel That Fire, by
Lightnin N Thunder. O/B-Red Oak Stable (Brunetti) (KY);
T-Todd A. Pletcher. $28,875.
Margins: 9 1/4, NK, 1. Odds: 1.80, 30.70, 5.00.
Also Ran: Code for Success, Majestic d'Oro, Ontheonesandtwos, Miss Chamita, Kneesnhips, Maxine Machine, Lemieux. Scratched: Joyrunner.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.