It was a classic win-the-battle-lose-the-war scenario for Secretariat Stakes (G1) favorite Analyze It, who put away Real Story and Hunting Horn before being collared in the final furlong by Carrick.
Jockey John Velazquez was aboard Carrick for the second time after a troubled trip in the Kent Stakes (G3). The Racing Hall of Fame rider said the plan today from trainer Tom Morley was to stay close but in the clear. The plan paid off, and Carrick ran past Analyze It even after that one put away pacesetter Real Story and presser Hunting Horn.
“How about our team of Morley and Velazquez,” said a beaming Jerry Crawford, principal of the Donegal Racing partnership that campaigns Carrick. “We were confident that he’d run well but knew it was a tough field. We thought we had a shot if we fired our best shot.”
That shot came as a longshot, as Carrick was dismissed as a 38-to-1 chance, but really, he and 4-to-5 favorite Analyze It were the only two threats to win in the late stages of the race.
“I didn’t want to let (Analyze It or Hunting Horn) get away from me, so I asked my horse a little bit to keep up and knew I was in a spot that if I had horse left I could win,” Velazquez said. “He had a ton of trouble in his last start but today was clean and did very well. I knew if we could get to Analyze It we could win.”
It was the third consecutive runner-up performance as the favorite for Analyze It, who previously had been defeated by Catholic Boy in the Pennine Ridge (G3) and Belmont Derby (G1).
“I thought it was a solid effort considering we were there with the speed and put them away,” trainer Chad Brown said of Analyze It. “We overtook them but didn’t have enough left to fight off the winner.”
The $78.20 win payoff on Carrick is the highest by far since at least 1992. It is the second win in this race for Donegal, which won with Paddy O’Prado in 2010.
“I told everyone we can be world champion for a day if we win today,” Crawford said. “We had a lot of young people with us today, and we invited them all to the winner’s circle.”
The team was celebrating quite an ascent for their Giant’s Causeway colt, who began his career on May 12 in a $40,000 maiden claiming race. A starter allowance victory followed before the Kent. Carrick is now 3-for-4 lifetime with more than $300,000 in earnings.