February 26, 2024

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champ Caravel books return ticket in WAYI Jaipur

Caravel wins the Jaipur (G1) at Belmont Park (Photo by Susie Raisher/Coglianese Photos)

Reigning Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) champion Caravel originally had Royal Ascot in her June datebook, until connections preferred to stay stateside for Saturday’s $400,000 Jaipur (G1) at Belmont Park. The decision paid off, as the Brad Cox mare defeated males in the “Win and You’re In” to earn a free pass to her Breeders’ Cup title defense at Santa Anita.

Caravel brought a four-race winning streak into the Jaipur, having captured last fall’s Franklin (G3) in her own division prior to flooring an international cast back at Keeneland in the Turf Sprint. The daughter of Mizzen Mast beat the boys again in her 2023 debut in the Shakertown (G2) over the same course and 5 1/2-furlong trip. She reverted to distaff company for an easy score in the May 5 Unbridled Sidney S. at Churchill Downs, which was expected to serve as her springboard to Royal Ascot.

Although the Jaipur featured a deep and competitive field, including two-time defending champion Casa Creed, bettors dispatched Caravel as the 2.90-1 favorite. And the market was spot on to keep the faith.

Breaking from post 11 with Tyler Gaffalione, Caravel secured an excellent stalking position in second as Nothing Better rattled off splits of :22.19 and :44.80 on the firm course. The mare was breathing down the leader’s neck turning for home, and the race was over once Caravel switched to her right lead at the top of the stretch.

Then Casa Creed kicked into gear, and Big Invasion, who was likewise under Royal Ascot consideration, made belated headway. But Caravel had about three-quarters of a length to spare at the wire while finishing six furlongs in 1:07.93.

Big Invasion edged Casa Creed for runner-up honors, and Dr Zempf snared fourth in the photo with Nothing Better.

Owned by Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel, and Madaket Stables, Caravel sports a mark of 23-15-0-3, $1,897,577. The gray has won or placed in a grand total of 16 stakes, beginning with original owner/trainer Elizabeth Merryman, who also bred the mare in Pennsylvania.

Caravel is a half-sister to multiple stakes scorer Witty. Both are out of the Congrats mare Zeezee Zoomzoom, herself a daughter of Grade 2-placed multiple stakes winner Zee Zee.