April 23, 2024

Adhamo capitalizes in United Nations; Lemista battles back in Matchmaker

Adhamo with Flavien Prat riding wins the United Nations Stakes (Photo By Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

The trainer/jockey tandem of Chad Brown and Flavien Prat swept all four graded stakes on the Haskell (G1) undercard at Monmouth on Saturday. Their turf double came courtesy of Adhamo in the $618,000 United Nations (G1) and Lemista in the $201,000 Matchmaker (G3), both Irish-breds breaking through for the first time stateside.

United Nations (G1)

Defending champion and fellow Brown pupil Tribhuvan was the 5-2 favorite on the morning line, but the public ultimately dispatched Adhamo as the 9-5 choice. The market was correct, as Tribhuvan was forced to go faster than ideal early, and the hitherto unlucky Adhamo finally had the right set-up.

Tribhuvan sped to the fore through an opening quarter in :24.70 – not quite as swift as last year’s :24.01 – but the key factor on Saturday was that he wasn’t allowed to slacken on a cozy lead. Epic Bromance hovered just within earshot, and that was enough to coax the front runner through splits of :48.86, 1:13.26, 1:36.35, and 2:00.24. Compare those fractions to Tribhuvan’s 2021 times of :49.32, 1:15.47, 1:40.16, and 2:03.52, both races on a firm course.

Swinging into the homestretch, Tribhuvan was still traveling well, until he approached the eighth-pole. The 11th and final furlong found him out, and he began to shorten stride.

Adhamo was just revving up. After saving ground most of the way in midpack, the European expat angled out to unleash a potent closing kick and overwhelmed the weakening Tribhuvan. Adhamo won going away by 1 1/2 lengths in a final time of 2:12.68.

The 72.70-1 Epic Bromance doggedly kept on to snatch second in a three-way finish with Temple and Tribhuvan, the trio heads apart. Gufo, the joint second choice with Tribhuvan at 2.40-1, showed belated interest to get up for fifth. Next came Carpenters Call, Kentucky Ghost, Glynn County, Mohs, and He’spuregold.

Adhamo’s first stateside win for Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and Louis Lazzinnaro improved his resume to 15-5-3-3, $751,129. Purchased for $289,900 at last fall’s Arqana Arc Sale, the son of Intello just missed in his U.S. premiere in the Feb. 19 Fair Grounds (G3). He was along for third in the Turf Classic (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day, then a troubled second to loose-on-the-lead Tribhuvan in the Manhattan (G1) last out.

The Wertheimer et Frere-bred had shown ability in France last season for Freddie Head. Adhamo captured the Prix La Force (G3), placed third in the Prix Eugene Adam (G2), wound up fourth in the Prix de Guiche (G3), and wasn’t disgraced in seventh behind St Mark’s Basilica in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) (G1).

Adhamo’s dam, French stakes scorer Foreign Tune, is a full sister to multiple Group 2 heroine Impassable. The Invincible Spirit mare is also a half-sister to Group 3 winners Spotify and Attendu.

Matchmaker (G3)

Earlier in the Matchmaker, Peter M. Brant’s Lemista repelled a stiff challenge from stablemate Fluffy Socks to register her first U.S. victory. The 4.60-1 chance had not won since her signature win in the 2020 Kilboy Estate (G2) at the Curragh, but the Irish import had been nibbling at the minors stateside. A perfect ride by Prat helped lift her across the finish line.

As the other Brown entrant, Flighty Lady, dictated a modest pace in :23.82, :48.34, and 1:12.21, Lemista was quick into stride and well placed. Fluffy Socks, who typically rallies from further back, crept a bit nearer down the backstretch given the race shape.

When Lemista collared Flighty Lady on the far turn, Fluffy Socks covered her move into the stretch and appeared to have her in the grasp. Lemista had saved something in reserve, though, and edged away by a half-length. Negotiating 1 1/8 grassy miles in 1:47.07, she returned $11.20.

Vigilantes Way closed on the inside to threaten for second, but Fluffy Socks saved the runner-up spot by a neck. Lemista and the placegetters will receive a season to one of three WinStar stallions (Global Campaign, Tom’s D’Etat, and Improbable) as the sponsor’s enhancement to their purse money.

Flighty Lady tired to fourth, followed by Lady Rockstar, the non-threatening 9-5 favorite; Core Values; and Wholebodemeister. Office Etiquette was scratched.

Lemista has compiled a record of 13-5-1-2, $362,288. Initially trained by Ger Lyons, the daughter of Raven’s Pass racked up three straight wins as a sophomore versus elders. She opened that 2020 campaign by taking the Park Express (G3), and after racing resumed from the COVID lockdown, she added the Victor McCalmont Memorial S. and Kilboy Estate. Her season ended on an anticlimactic note when eased home 10th in the Blandford (G2) on Irish Champions Weekend.

Resurfacing for Brant and Brown in 2021, Lemista was runner-up in the Beaugay (G3), eighth in the Diana (G1), and third in the final Beverly D. (G1) held at Arlington. She wasn’t seen again until this season, when fourth in the May 14 Beaugay and third in the June 18 Eatontown (G3) in her Monmouth prep.

Bred by Drumlin Bloodstock in the Emerald Isle, Lemista was a bargain $18,768 weanling purchase at Goffs November. Her dam, the Arcano mare Shortmile Lady, is a half-sister to French Group 3 winner Indian Maiden. They descend from the all-star family of 1988 Kentucky Derby (G1) vixen and Hall of Famer Winning Colors.