November 30, 2021

Arklow rallies to win Louisville in stakes-record time

Arklow wins the Louisville Stakes 2021
Arklow wins the Louisville Stakes 2021 (Photo by Coady Photography/Churchill Downs)

Class on the grass is generally no misnomer, and Arklow had it in spades over his rivals in Saturday’s $150,000 Louisville S. (G3) at Churchill Downs. The multi-millionaire seven-year-old made his first run since November a winning one as the 13-10 favorite, prevailing by one length in the 1 1/2-mile fixture.

Although he had shown more tactical foot in his final three starts of the 2020 season after the addition of blinkers, Arklow lagged farther behind the pace in the Louisville. However, the son of Arch made a wide, bold move into contention heading into the far turn the second time, seized the lead in the stretch, and won safely from the rallying Red Knight.

“This is the first time I’ve got him relaxed with the blinkers on,” jockey Florent Geroux said. “When he felt the horse coming on his outside at the five-eighths pole, he took off by himself. I was worried because it wasn’t what I was planning to do, but he was wanting to go.”

Owned by Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger, and the Estate of Peter Coneway, the Brad Cox-trained Arklow paid $4.60 after completing the course in a stakes-record 2:27.13 over firm ground.

Following runner-up Red Knight under the wire were Strong Tide, Ajourneytofreedom, Bakers Bay, Imperador, Fantasioso, Spooky Channel, Artemus Eagle, Jais’s Solitide, Crafty Daddy, Admiralty Pier, Fighting Seabee, and Monarchs Glen.

Arklow has now won three of four starts since adding blinkers, with prior wins coming in the Kentucky Cup Turf (G3) and Hollywood Turf Cup (G2). His lone loss was a credible sixth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

Arklow’s other graded stakes wins occurred in the 2019 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1), 2018 Kentucky Turf Cup, and 2017 American Turf (G2). He’s placed in seven other graded events, including a photo-finish loss in the 2020 Louisville. His record now stands at 32-9-7-2, $2,750,746.

Bred in Kentucky by John Penn and Frank Penn, Arklow was produced by Unbridled Empire, an Empire Maker half-sister to Grade 1 winners Fourty Niners Son and Cindy’s Hero. A half-brother to Grade 2 scorer Maraud, Arklow descends from the family that produced Hall of Famer Arts and Letters.