Turns Back Late Challenge
By Dick Downey
A Thread of Blue, accustomed to winning on the lead, came from off the pace today to win the Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
A son of Hard Spun trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Luis Saez, A Thread of Blue covered a firm 1 1/16-mile turf course in 1:41.93 while winning by three-quarters of a length over the contentious Casa Creed. Casa Creed was a length in front of Louder Than Bombs in third.
A Thread of Blue rated in third position behind fractions of :23.78 and :47.99 set by King Ottokar and 99-1 longshot Hard Belle. Casa Creed wasn't far behind in fourth under John Velazquez. Approaching the final turn, Saez moved A Thread of Blue alongside King Ottokar and took the lead leaving the bend. The winner turned back a pursuing Casa Creed as the pair approached the finish line.
“It was great to be able to lay third, second, third and then move when he wanted to move,” said McLaughlin. “He’s a really nice horse and does everything right. He obviously loves it in Florida, winning three in a row here and we’ll probably give him a little more time in between races this next time, and we’ll look at Derby day.
“I was only nervous at the eighth pole when Johnny came up next to us, but Luis said he had a lot of horse the whole way and he ran great. Like I said we’ll freshen him a little bit and try to give him sixty days till his next start. I definitely think he can stretch out to a mile and a quarter, should be no problem. The mile and half might be a little far for him, but certainly we’ll try a mile and a quarter.”
For more about A Thread of Blue, click to his profile here.