February 22, 2024

Suedois swoops late in Heart-stopping finish to Shadwell Turf Mile

Suedois invaded from England to win the 2017 Shadwell Turf Mile (Photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography)

Yorkshire-based trainer David O’Meara has rapidly become known for his turnaround artistry, and George Turner and Clipper Logistics’ Suedois became his latest case study in Saturday’s $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).

Placed in a trio of Group 1 sprints after joining the yard last season, the six-year-old gelding appeared to have stopped progressing this campaign. O’Meara had a ready solution. He simply stretched him out to a mile in the Boomerang (G2) (sponsored by co-owner Clipper Logistics) on Irish Champions weekend, and presto, Suedois rediscovered the winner’s circle for the first time in two years.

Next came a bolder tilt at Keeneland’s “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), and again Suedois responded to garner his spot at Del Mar. Chosen by stable rider Danny Tudhope over Mondialiste – O’Meara’s runner better known to North American fans – the 9-1 chance caught fire late to inflict heartbreak on front-running Heart to Heart.

The 2-1 favorite, Heart to Heart took his usual initiative right out of the gate, hustled over from post 10, and held the advantage through the first quarter in :23.96 on the firm turf. But triple-digit longshots – first Christian C and then Applicator – went up to pester. Applicator was the gadfly through the half in :48.17, and Heart to Heart shook him off by the time he clocked six furlongs rounding the far turn in 1:12.41. Defending champion Miss Temple City worked her way into a contending position, with Ballagh Rocks following her trail and Argentine champion Le Ken cutting the corner in brief pursuit.

Heart to Heart had all of their moves covered, though, as he maintained control in midstretch and had an elusive Grade 1 in his sights. Then Suedois, who had himself angled out from behind Ballagh Rocks, began to pick up more threateningly. Once gaining momentum, the dark bay was irresistible as he collared Heart to Heart by a half-length.

Ballagh Rocks, who never quite looked like getting there, kept on willingly to make it close, and it took all of Heart to Heart’s heart to salvage runner-up honors by a head. Divisidero, up against it trying to close from 11th, did well to snare fourth from Mondialiste in a photo. Miss Temple City flattened out in sixth, trailed by Offering Plan, Le Ken, Flatlined, American Patriot, Christian C, Applicator, Tyler U, and Dimension.

Suedois negotiated the mile in 1:35.94, more than a full second faster than Zipessa in the First Lady (G1) two races earlier. That underscores the heroic bid by Heart to Heart, who did it all the hard way and nearly pulled it off.

By paying $21.40 to win, Suedois advanced his own scorecard to 32-8-8-7 with earnings of approximately $1.3 million. He was originally trained by Christian Baillet for breeder Elisabeth Vidal, and flashed potential with victories in the 2015 Prix de Meautry (G3) and Prix Servanne and placings in the Prix de Ris-Orangis (G3), Prix Montenica, and Prix Hampton.

Suedois was subsequently sold for €165,000 at the Arqana Arc Sale and changed residence. Although he didn’t win for O’Meara until the Boomerang, he was a consistent placegetter in such major events as the July Cup (G1), Haydock Sprint Cup (G1), and Prix de la Foret (G1) last season. In 2017, Suedois added minor credits in the Greenlands (G2), Lennox (G2), and City of York (G3) before finding his niche at a mile. That fits on pedigree, as you wouldn’t think sprinter for a son of Le Havre and the Singspiel mare Cup Cake.

While postrace quotes suggest that his team will have a consultation about Del Mar, Suedois deserves another chance at the Breeders’ Cup after missing out last November. He’d shipped to Santa Anita for the Turf Sprint (G1), only to be withdrawn with a stress fracture.

Quotes from Keeneland

Winning trainer David O’Meara: “We’ve been here (at Keeneland) a couple of times before. We were here for the Breeders’ Cup with Mondialiste, who finished second (to Tepin in the 2015 Mile), and here in this race last year (and) finished fourth. (Keeneland) puts on really good prize money. It was a toss-up over taking him to France for seven (for another chance at the about seven-furlong Foret) or here for a mile. His previous start at a mile, he won it, and we were keen to keep him at the same distance.”

“We’ll chat with the owners and see what they want to do (about the Breeders’ Cup Mile).”

Jockey Danny Tudhope on Suedois: “I thought I had a nice position. He travels really well, and I didn’t want to get (to the front) too soon. He finished really strong. He handled the track really well. I was happy with the way it went.”

Trainer Brian Lynch on runner-up Heart to Heart: “You feel for the horse because he runs his eyeballs out every time, but you have to be humble and gallant in defeat as hard as he tries every time. If he had had a breather down the backside, he might have been able to finish better but that is racing. He is not Breeders’ Cup eligible and there is a big supplement fee, so I don’t think he will go. For sure he will come back to race next year.”

Florent Geroux, who rode Heart to Heart: “There was pressure down the backside from Applicator going head to head with me. I wish he had not been there with me. If I had been able to slow him down a little (on the backside) maybe he could have won.”

Jockey Jose Lezcano on third-placer Ballagh Rocks: “I had a very good trip. He broke very good – the way I wanted to break. When I asked him to run, he gave me everything he had. He gave me his race. He tried hard the whole way around.”

Jockey Julien Leparoux on Divisidero in fourth: “We came from behind with a 14-horse field, but he made his run. No excuse. Just didn’t get there today.”

Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado on Miss Temple City, sixth as the defending champion: “She had a good trip. She broke OK and got outrun the first part so I was able to sit right behind the speed. She was going very comfortably and when I hit the three-eighths pole I had horse and I could look at the competition coming from behind. I was pretty comfortable where we were and I had a great feeling that she would be able to repeat. At the top of the stretch, when I asked her, she really tried to go after the horse in front…She got a good trip, but you’ve got to run the last part.”