Champions Dream finished best of all in the middle of the track to capture Sunday's GIII Nashua S. and become the latest stakes winner for Triple Crown hero Justify.
Named a 'TDN Rising Star' off a well-bet front-running debut score Sept. 3 at Saratoga, the gray chased the pace before backing up to be a well-beaten fifth in the GI Champagne S. here Oct. 1. Let go as a fractional second choice behind Full Moon Madness here, he broke a half-step slowly and settled second last in the five horse group through splits of :23.10 and :46.25. Appearing beaten to the punch by the favorite while going three wide on the turn as pacesetter Prove Right dug in his heels as well, Champions Dream just found enough in the final sixteenth to overtake Full Moon Madness for the victory. Prove Right finished a close third.
“He broke a little flat-footed today. He's fast and we thought we'd be on the lead. Down the backside, Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] said he almost clipped heels and fell,” said winning trainer Danny Gargan. “The six-horse [American Speed] came over on him and he had to check. I was worried for a minute. You never know, when you have a horse that's been speedy, how they're going to run when they come from off of it. Irad said he was sitting out there waiting to make his move. He was wide throughout, but he ran really good today.”
Justify's fifth stakes winner–breaking a tie with Bolt d'Oro and Girvin to place him first among freshman sires–Champions Dream is his first male stakes winner and the first stakes performer out of Dancinginherdreams, who won the GII Pocahontas S. in 2010 and placed in two other graded events. The former John Oxley colorbearer has a yearling colt by Flameaway who sold for $150,000 at Fasig-Tipton October and foaled a filly by the same sire this season before returning to him for a third straight time.
NASHUA S.-GIII, $145,500, Aqueduct, 11-6, 2yo, 1m, 1:39.17, ft.
1–CHAMPIONS DREAM, 118, c, 2, by Justify
1st Dam: Dancinginherdreams (GSW, $328,516), by Tapit
2nd Dam: Mayan Milagra, by Menifee
3rd Dam: Dhaka, by Icecapade
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($25,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP; $425,000 2yo '22 OBSMAR). 'TDN Rising Star'. O-Rosedown Racing Stables, LLC; B-John C. Oxley (KY); T-Danny Gargan; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr.. $82,500. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-0, $160,250. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. *Fifth SW for Freshman Sire (by Scat Daddy).
2–Full Moon Madness, 118, c, 2, Into Mischief–By the Moon, by Indian Charlie. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O/B-Jay Em Ess Stable (KY); T-Michelle Nevin. $30,000.
3–Prove Right, 118, c, 2, Justify–Joe'sgoldenholiday, by Harlan's Holiday. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($15,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-James K. Chapman and Stuart Tsujimoto; B-Three Chimneys Farm, LLC (KY); T-James K. Chapman. $18,000.
Margins: 3/4, 1HF, 8. Odds: 1.35, 1.30, 13.10.
Also Ran: American Speed, Torrone. Scratched: Signator.
Click for the Equibase.com chart or the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.