Propelled by a devastating turn of foot on the inner turf course at Belmont Park, Casa Creed swept by the field in the stretch of the Grade 1, $400,000 Jaipur Stakes for 3-year-olds and up to win by two lengths in the six-furlong dash on June 5.
Formerly a Grade 1-placed route runner, the Bill Mott-trained Casa Creed has taken his game to even greater heights since turning back in distance in the seven-furlong Elusive Quality at Belmont last out in his first start around one turn on turf. Despite getting very little pace to attack in the Elusive Quality, the son of Jimmy Creed closed strongly to prevail by a head over a talented bunch of sprinters, marking his first victory since the 2019 edition of the Grade 2 Hall of Fame at Saratoga Race Course.
Although the dynamics of the Jaipur figured to be similar to the Elusive Quality, the race featured an honest pace set by even-money favorite Bound for Nowhere, who went out to lead the field through splits of :22.06 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and :44.65 for the half as he was hounded by both California shipper Gregorian Chant (GB) and Sombeyay.
The leading triumvirate continued their three-ply battle for the lead around the far turn before Bound for Nowhere edged away from his pace combatants at the top of the stretch. But once angled into the clear by jockey Junior Alvarado, Casa Creed came rolling home to inhale the favorite and put plenty of distance between himself and his stablemate Chewing Gum, who closed belatedly to get second. The bay horse stopped the clock in 1:08.04 on a firm course.
“I missed the break a little,” said Alvarado. “I got worried right away because when sprinting the last thing you want to do is break slow. The first sixteenth of a mile, I was last and he was going so fast. I was thinking that they had to be going pretty quick up front. He started picking it up little by little and still going so fast. As soon as I turned for home and put him in the clear, I asked him a bit and then he pulled the reins out of my hands. It was a beautiful run from the three-sixteenths to the wire.
“He’s versatile,” Alvarado added. “He’s been unlucky with races, but he’s always been hard knocking. He gets beat, but gets beat trying against really nice horses. We started figuring it out these past couple of races. He showed today that he’s a serious sprinter.”
Casa Creed returned $23.60 on a $2 win wager and increased his career earnings to $755,408. A Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ event, the Jaipur guarantees Casa Creed an all-expenses paid trip to the Grade 1 Turf Sprint at Del Mar in November, in which his sprint abilities could be put to the test again as he will be forced to cut back in distance even further for the five-furlong dash.
“He ran great,” said Mott, who trains Casa Creed for LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable. “It looks like sprints suit him, for sure.”
Owned in partnership by Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable, and Jerold Zaro, Chewing Gum took a nearly identical path to the Jaipur as his stablemate. He finished second in a seven-furlong optional claimer here on May 14, and his late-running tactics again served him well on the turnback in distance, though he proved no match for the winner.
“He broke very sharp, but eventually they outran him,” said Jose Ortiz, jockey aboard Chewing Gum. “They went too fast early on. From there I followed Junior, the other horse from Bill, and he was moving nicely. We were a little wide but we were moving nicely. They were coming back to us, so we were in a good spot. When Junior asked him, he really took off, and my horse did, too. I think it was a huge effort for second.”
Bound for Nowhere was able to hang on for third for owner/trainer Wesley Ward. The 7-year-old son of The Factor entered the race off a nose victory in the Grade 2, 5 ½-furlong Shakertown at Keeneland and in 2018 almost pulled off a stunning upset in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, where he missed by less than a length at 16-1. The classy turf sprinter won the pace battle in the Jaipur but lost the war as he was unable to stave off the Mott duo in the stretch, though he did keep his nose in front of Stubbins on the wire.