By Steve Sherack
In this continuing series, TDN's Senior Racing Editor Steve Sherack catches up with the connections of promising maidens to keep on your radar.
Off as the 3-1 second choice with his Brad Cox-trained stablemate Exploration (Curlin) receiving the bulk of the action at 3-2, the Godolphin homebred was bumped from both sides after exiting from post nine and trailed the field of 11 through an opening quarter in :22.40.
Cornishman caught the eye as he began to wind up from far back with a four-wide sweep beneath Florent Geroux on the far turn and was tipped out to the seven path as they straightened. He continued to motor powerfully down the center in the stretch and was clocked in a field-best final furlong of :11.97 to cross the line a length behind the Dallas Stewart-trained newcomer Bee Dancer (Bee Jersey). The aforementioned Exploration, a $900,000 Keeneland September graduate, just got tagged on the line by his stablemate for runner-up honors.
The final time for the six-furlong affair was 1:10.92. Cornishman earned a 75 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.
“He's a horse that we've liked all along,” Godolphin USA Director of Bloodstock Michael Banahan said. “Just little juvenile stuff last year and we had to give him some time off. Once Brad (Cox) got him back in there, he was going well for him and he really liked him. We were very much looking forward to his debut and thought that he was a horse that showed plenty of potential in the morning.”
He continued, “He breaks good out of the gate, but that day, Florent (Geroux) said that he couldn't get him settled well enough. He was the last one in the gate, and when they pulled the latches, he wasn't ready for it. Taking all that into consideration–breaking last, having to go wide, etc.–we were extremely happy with the way he ran and how well he finished up with the trip that he had. And that was a race to get him started going three quarters. That's nothing of what he wants to do.”
Cornishman returned to the worktab with a four-furlong move in :49 (23/74) in New Orleans Feb. 2. He could see additional distance in his next start later this month, per Banahan.
“We're very excited about him going forward,” Banahan said. “Hopefully, we get to run maybe in mid-February–maybe Risen Star weekend if they have a one mile and a sixteenth or something (similar) down there. Very much looking forward to stretching him out and seeing what he could do. Very hopeful that he could be a horse that we can be talking about through the season.”
Hailing from a very active and deep female family, Cornishman is out of GSW & MGISP Penwith, a daughter of MGISW and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Composure (Touch Gold). The latter brought $3.6 million from Sheikh Mohammed's operation at the 2003 Keeneland November sale.
Penwith is a full-sister to the unraced dam of last Friday's GIII Bayakoa S. winner Comparative (Street Sense) and MGSW Shared Sense (Street Sense); a half-sister to MGISP Centring (A.P. Indy), the dam of last term's GI Frizette S. runner-up Central Avenue (Street Sense); and a half-sister to GISP Tranquil Manner (A.P. Indy).
The Curlin x Bernardini cross has produced standouts such as MGISW Clairiere, GISW Paris Lights, MGSW Cezanne and GSW & MGISP Point of Honor. Cornishman is also bred similarly to Curlin-sired champions Stellar Wind, Malathaat and Nest.
“He has the pedigree that if he goes on and progresses like we think he will, he'll have a shot at hopefully some nice races down the road,” Banahan said. “But let's get him there first. He has to break his maiden first.”
— TwinSpires Racing 🏇 (@TwinSpires) January 20, 2024