Hoping that the GIII Dinner Party S. might be a sampling of things to come later on the Preakness Day card, Never Explain came from off the pace to collect his first black-type victory for trainer Shug McGaughey.
Handily away from gate six, the dark bay settled off the pace in fourth as GI Pegasus World Cup Turf winner Atone (Into Mischief), sent off at 5-2, strode to the front with MGSW 'TDN Rising Star' Emmanuel and Rising Empire (Empire Maker) in hot pursuit rounding the first turn. With the top running order relatively unchanged following a half in :47.40, Never Explain continued to bide his time along the inside while working his way up to third as the leading two continued to exchange blows turning for home. Taking the final turn a bit wide, Never Explain nonetheless appeared to have the most momentum late, bearing down on the game, but tiring leaders. With a gaggle of horses giving it their all late, including favored Hurricane Dream, who finally got going after lingering near the back early, it was the Courtlandt Farm runner with Flavien Prat that timed it best, winning by a half-length length over the French-bred. Emmanuel rounded out the trifecta.
“It looked like the pace was honest, and I tucked myself in,” said Prat. “I tipped him out turning for home and he really dug in and was game. On the form, it felt like anybody could win. Turning for home, I thought I had a chance. But I felt I wasn't the only one. It seemed like the horse coming outside of me helped me and pushed my horse. It was great. He was really great.”
The victory represented the fifth win for McGaughey in the Dinner Party. He previously won with Lure (1993), Parading (2009), Ironicus (2015) and Fire Away (2018).
Having recorded his sole 2022 victory at Pimlico exactly one year ago, Never Explain didn't show much when sixth going a mile at Gulfstream Jan. 1 but seemed to enjoy the change of venue when winning next time in a nine-panel Tampa allowance Jan. 18. Despite a tardy start in his latest while cutting back a furlong in Oldsmar Mar. 1, the 5-year-old came back to make it two straight under Samy Camacho.
The win represented the third straight win for Never Explain since removing the blinkers.
“Even without the blinkers he wants to pull a little bit,” said McGaughey. “That was one of the good things about today. [Flavien] got him to relax really well, where he had horse at the finish.”
With the victory Never Explain becomes the 40th worldwide graded/group winner for Darley America sire Street Sense, who was run down by Curlin in the 2007 Preakness. A $87,000 KEENOV purchase by Hidden Brook Farm in foal to The Factor in 2014, the 13-year-old Black Oak produced Never Explain in a foal-sharing arrangement between Hidden Brook Farm and Godolphin. A $155,000 KEENOV weanling in 2018, he flourished into a $475,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Courtlandt Farm. Black Oak has an unraced juvenile filly by Palace Malice and a yearling colt McKinzie. This is the family Grade I sprinter Richter Scale.
DINNER PARTY S. PRESENTED BY BULLEIT BOURBON-GIII,
$200,000, Pimlico, 5-20, 3yo/up, 1 1/8mT, 1:46.14, fm.
1–NEVER EXPLAIN, 120, h, 5, by Street Sense
1st Dam: Black Oak (SP), by Forestry
2nd Dam: More for Me, by More Than Ready
3rd Dam: Velvet's Pie, by Native Prospector
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($155,000 Wlg '18 KEENOV; $475,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-Courtlandt Farms (Donald Adam); B-Hidden Brook Farm & Godolphin (KY); T-Claude R. McGaughey III; J-Flavien Prat. $120,000. Lifetime Record: 15-5-1-2, $242,062. Werk Nick Rating: B+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Hurricane Dream (Fr), 120, g, 6, Hurricane Cat–Shalimara (Fr), by Siyouni (Fr). O-Team Valor, et al; B-Marie Laurence Oget & Andre Brakha (FR); T-H. Graham Motion. $40,000.
3–Emmanuel, 122, c, 4, More Than Ready–Hard Cloth, by Hard Spun. ($350,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP). O-Siena Farm LLC and WinStar Farm LLC; B-Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $20,000.
Margins: HF, HD, NK. Odds: 15.20, 1.20, 3.40.
Also Ran: Speaking Scout, Atone, Easter (Fr), Rising Empire.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs.
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