Tom's d'Etat Outclasses 'Em in the Clark

11th at CD , $600kGI Clark H. (1 1/8m)Winner: Tom's d'Etat, h, 6 by Smart Strike

Tom's d'Etat | Coady

G M B Racing's Tom's d'Etat (Smart Strike), just shy of his seventh birthday, earned the biggest victory of his career with an authoritative 3 1/4-length victory in the GI Clark H. at Churchill Downs Friday.

“There are a lot of Grade I horses in this game that don't make Grade I races,” said winning trainer Al Stall, Jr., who was saddling his first top-level victor since 2009 Clark winner Blame (Arch) handed Zenyatta (Street Cry {Ire}) her only career loss in the 2010 GI Breeders' Cup Classic. “To have a horse like this is extremely special for our entire barn.”

Tom's d'Etat, the 4-5 favorite, was settled in mid-pack as New York raider Mr. Buff (Friend or Foe) showed the way from Mr. Freeze (To Honor and Serve). Tom's d'Etat advanced in hand on the turn and was asked for some acceleration by Joel Rosario nearing the stretch. Showing a sharp burst of speed, he circled four wide outside of Mr. Freeze at the head of the lane and, once he switched his leads, he was off and gone, reporting home a very easy winner.

“He ran unbelievable,” said Rosario. “It was such a good effort from him tonight to be able to sit behind the speed like that. He had such a strong kick inthe stretch and won easily.”

The victory was a first Grade I for Gayle Benson's G M B Racing. Benson is the widow of the late former New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson.

Tom's d'Etat, who made only two starts in 2018, opened his 2019 campaign as a well-beaten ninth in the Jan. 26 GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational. Second in the May 3 GII Alysheba S. and third in the June 15 GII Stephen Foster S. under the Twin Spires this spring, the bay returned to the winner's circle in the Aug. 2 Alydar S. at Saratoga. He was fourth behind Preservationist (Arch) in the Aug. 31 GI Woodward S. and came home 4 1/4 lengths the best over a sloppy track in the Oct. 26 GII Fayette S. at Keeneland last time out.

“[The Pegasus World Cup] was on a funky racetrack in January,” Stall said. “He ended up getting a pretty bad abcess in his hind and he just wasn't right after the race. We saw some footage of him training and knew he wasn't right. He was able to take care of himself in that race and we were able to give him the time off he needed to healfrom the injury and doing right by him shows us how important that can be–look where we are now.”

Stall said future options for Tom's d'Etat include the new $20-million Saudi Cup over 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 29, the $12-million G1 Dubai World Cup Mar. 28, major stateside races and, possibly, retirement for a stallion career at stud.

Pedigree Notes:

SF Bloodstock purchased Julia Tuttle, third in the 2008 GIII Virginia Oaks, for $235,000 at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky February sale. In foal to Speightstown, she sold for $200,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale and, in foal to Malibu Moon, she sold for $250,000 to Dixiana Farm at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. Tom's D'Etat is the mare's third foal. She has a weanling filly by Connect and was bred back to Nyquist.

Friday, Churchill Downs
CLARK S. PRESENTED BY NORTON HEALTHCARE-GI, $600,000, Churchill Downs, 11-29, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:48.84, ft.
1–TOM'S D'ETAT, 123, h, 6, by Smart Strike
1st Dam: Julia Tuttle (SW & GSP, $188,051),
by Giant's Causeway
2nd Dam: Candy Cane (Arg), by Ride the Rails
3rd Dam: Candy Girl (Arg), by Candy Stripes
1ST GRADE I WIN. ($330,000 Ylg '14 KEESEP). O-G M B Racing;
B-SF Bloodstock LLC (KY); T-Albert M. Stall, Jr.; J-Joel Rosario.
$349,680. Lifetime Record: 16-9-2-1, $1,236,572. Werk Nick
Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Owendale, 118, c, 3, Into Mischief–Aspen Light, by
Bernardini. ($200,000 Ylg '17 KEESEP). O-Rupp Racing;
B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Brad H. Cox.
3–Mr Freeze, 121, c, 4, To Honor and Serve–Heavenly Cat, by
Tabasco Cat. ($75,000 Ylg '16 KEESEP). O-Jim Bakke &Gerald
Isbister; B-Siena Farms LLC (KY); T-Dale L. Romans. $56,400.
Margins: 3 1/4, HD, 1. Odds: 0.90, 5.30, 15.20.
Also Ran: Draft Pick, Major Cabbie, Seeking the Soul, Mocito Rojo, Bravazo, Snapper Sinclair, Mr. Buff, Fact Finding. Scratched: Pioneer Spirit. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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