Encino Takes to Dirt, Wires Stonestreet Lexington

Encino | Coady Photography

Godolphin homebred Encino (Nyquist) took to dirt with aplomb, delivering a 3/4-length, wire-to-wire victory over favored The Wine Steward (Vino Rosso) in Saturday's GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. at Keeneland. With the win, good for 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, Encino is currently ranked 21st on the leaderboard with 40 points.

“Ultimately (whether he starts in the Kentucky Derby) will be up to the Godolphin team–Dan Pride, Michael Banahan, Sheikh Mohammed–and if it's something they want to do, we'll prepare him,” winning trainer Brad Cox said. “We'll ship him over to Churchill in a few days regardless. I'll tell you it will either be the Derby or the Preakness. He's sitting at 21st on the list right now and some things would have to happen (to make the Kentucky Derby field). But we'll watch him. Hopefully, he comes out of (the Stonestreet Lexington) in good shape and we'll march forward.”

The 3-1 chance cleared the field of nine beneath Florent Geroux from his outside draw and led through fractions of :23.55 and :47.28. He kicked for home as the one to catch and gamely turned back a challenge from The Wine Steward in the stretch to get the money.

Encino made all three of his previous starts over the synthetic at Turfway Park, led by a win in the John Battaglia Memorial S. last time Mar. 2.

“There was a little bit of a question mark about whether he would like the dirt, but he handled it today,” Cox said. “He had a few works at Keeneland leading up to this race and showed his hand. He seemed like he liked the surface, and he put it all together today.”

Geroux added, “He broke like a shot. I was expecting more speed. It was pretty much all him to the first turn; he pretty much controlled the race from there. He was cruising around there, and when he felt The Wine Steward outside of him, it gave him a little extra push. I think that's what he needed because he was getting a little lost out there on his own. But he had plenty left in the tank, the dirt felt great, and it looks like added distance shouldn't be a problem for him.”

Pedigree Notes:

Encino becomes the 13th graded stakes winner for Nyquist. The winning Bernardini mare Glittering Jewel, a half-sister to GI Kentucky Derby winner and Darley stallion Street Sense (Street Cry {Ire}), produced fillies by Street Boss in 2022-23. She was bred to Good Magic for 2024. The Nyquist x Bernardini cross is also responsible for GISW Gretzky the Great and unbeaten 'TDN Rising Star' Nysos.

Saturday, Keeneland
STONESTREET LEXINGTON S.-GIII, $365,500, Keeneland, 4-13, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:43.93, ft.
1–ENCINO, 118, c, 3, by Nyquist
                1st Dam: Glittering Jewel, by Bernardini
                2nd Dam: Bedazzle, by Dixieland Band
                3rd Dam: Majestic Legend, by His Majesty
1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Florent Geroux. $235,600. Lifetime Record: 4-3-1-0,
$378,315. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus* Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–The Wine Steward, 118, c, 3, Vino Rosso–Call to Service, by To Honor and Serve. ($70,000 Ylg '22 SARAUG; $340,000 2yo '23 OBSMAR). O-Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher; B-Sequel Thoroughbreds LLC, Lakland Farm & Mark Toothaker (NY); T-Michael J. Maker. $57,000.
3–Dilger (Ire), 118, c, 3, Lope de Vega (Ire)–Post Perfection, by Majesticperfection. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O-Michael J. Ryan; B-Demers Bloodstock (IRE); T-Saffie Joseph, Jr. $28,500.
Margins: 3/4, 8 1/4, HF. Odds: 3.31, 1.49, 36.38.
Also Ran: Secret Chat, Footprint, Liberal Arts, Hades, Lucky Jeremy, How's Ur Attitude. Scratched: Everdoit.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.


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