By Alan Carasso
And the beat goes on for Olympiad (Speightstown), who looked to be in all sorts of trouble entering the final furlong of Friday's GII Alysheba S., but he called on his class and talent to repel a challenge from 'TDN Rising Star' Happy Saver (Super Saver) to remain perfect from four starts this season.
Away alertly, the odds-on favorite raced prominently under the wire for the first time and had company to his inside in the form of Weyburn (Pioneerof the Nile) and from a three-wide Happy Saver. The Chiefswood homebred Weyburn took the Alysheba along through a steady opening half-mile, but Olympiad was asked to creep closer by Junior Alvarado with three furlongs to race. Happy Saver had that move covered and, indeed, appeared to be going the better of the two as he turned into the stretch with a clear advantage. Olympiad braced for the fight and, once swapping over to his correct lead at about the eighth pole and despite being race-ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard Happy Saver, found his second wind and proved a clear-cut winner in the finish. Title Ready (More Than Ready) rallied for third ahead of the hulking Weyburn, who looked to put a foot under the rail and bounced off the fence at the furlong grounds, albeit once a beaten horse.
A big-figure allowance winner at Keeneland last October, Olympiad was given a serious class test in the GI Cigar Mile H. Dec. 4 and did well to finish fourth. It's been nothing but blue skies since a stretch out to two turns this term, as the $700,000 Keeneland September buy thrashed Gulfstream allowance rivals by better than seven lengths Jan. 15 ahead of victories in the GIII Mineshaft S. Feb. 19 and Mar. 26 GII New Orleans Classic.
“It takes him awhile to get into his nice rhythm but then after that it's over,” Alvarado said. “Happy Saver was trying to do his job, riding tough on me trying not to give me much room for my horse to finish up his run. I knew there was a horse in there, but I tried to help a little bit, to keep my momentum going forward, but I like I said I wasn't doing anything, it was the horse on the outside putting the pressure on me.”
Hailing from one of the best Emory Hamilton families, Olympiad is out of a Grade III-placed half-sister to GII Churchill Distaff Turf Mile heroine Hungry Island (More Than Ready), whose three winners from three to the races includes the stakes-placed Hamilton homebred mare Hungry Kitten (Kitten's Joy). Tokyo Time is also a half-sister to GSW Soaring Empire (Empire Maker) and to Flying Dixie (Dixieland Band), the dam of GISW and current Airdrie Stud sire Preservationist (Arch). Third dam Chic Shirine, winner of the 1987 GI Ashland S. and fifth in that year's GI Kentucky Oaks for Wayne Lukas, was a full-sister to champion older mare Queena and bred the graded-winning full-sibs Waldoboro (Lyphard) and Tara Roma as well as the dam of GISW Somali Lemonade (Lemon Drop Kid) and SW Rasta Farian (Holy Bull). Dual Grade I winner Verrazano (More Than Ready) also appears under the third dam.
Olympiad is bred on the exact same cross as ill-fated Grade I winner Rock Fall and GISW Competitionofideas and additional graded winners Souper Stonehenge and Strike Power.
Tokyo Time is the dam of the maiden 3-year-old colt Friendship Road (Quality Road), a 2-year-old filly by War Front and a yearling colt by American Pharoah. She was most recently served by Quality Road.
Friday, Churchill Downs
ALYSHEBA S. PRESENTED BY SENTIENT JET-GII, $500,000, Churchill Downs, 5-6, 4yo/up, 1 1/16m, 1:41.60, ft.
1–OLYMPIAD, 120, c, 4, by Speightstown
1st Dam: Tokyo Time (GSP, $249,177), by Medaglia d'Oro
2nd Dam: Flying Passage, by A.P. Indy
3rd Dam: Chic Shirine, by Mr. Prospector
($700,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable, LLC and LNJ Foxwoods; B-Emory A. Hamilton (KY); T-William I. Mott; J-Junior Alvarado. $303,800. Lifetime Record: 9-6-1-1, $952,240. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Happy Saver, 118, h, 5, Super Saver–Happy Week, by Distorted Humor. *TDN Rising Star* O/B-Wertheimer Et Frere (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $98,000.
3–Title Ready, 118, h, 7, More Than Ready–Title Seeker, by Monarchos. O/B-Charles Fipke (KY); T-Dallas Stewart. $49,000.
Margins: 2HF, 1HF, 2HF. Odds: 0.90, 3.70, 25.80.
Also Ran: Weyburn, Soy Tapatio, Fulsome, Max Player. Scratched: Militarist.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.