June 24, 2024

First Mission pulls away late to score in Alysheba

First Mission winning the Alysheba (G2) at Churchill Downs (Photo by Horsephotos.com)
First Mission winning the Alysheba (G2) at Churchill Downs (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

Godolphin’s homebred First Mission chased the pacesetting T O Saint Denis for most of Friday’s $730,000 Alysheba S. (G2) at Churchill Downs and cruised home to a commanding four-length win. Beneath Florent Geroux, the Brad Cox-conditioned four-year-old colt negotiated the 1 1/16-mile contest over a sloppy main track in 1:42.03, paying $4.14 to win.

T O Saint Denis, shipped in from Japan and the field’s longest shot at 27-1, seized the initiative from the gate, attaining a lead as large as five lengths while setting taxing fractions of :22.96, :46.77, 1:10.45, and 1:35.70. In the last sixteenth, however, while staying on his left lead, he proved no match for First Mission, who gained the advantage and pulled away effortlessly.

While unable to fight off First Mission, T O Saint Denis still showed much resilience in holding off Il Miracolo by a nose for second. The remaining order of finishers were Steal Sunshine, Call Me Fast, Money Supply, Trademark, and Pipeline. Tapit Trice and Tumbarumba were withdrawn.

First Mission became racing’s newest millionaire with the triumph. The dark bay son of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Street Sense now has amassed $1,273,020 to go along with a record of 8-5-2-0. He adds the Alysheba to previous wins in the Essex H. (G3) and Lexington (G3).

Bred in Kentucky, First Mission was produced by the winning Medaglia d’Oro mare Elude, who has an unraced two-year-old full brother to the Alysheba winner and an unnamed yearling colt by Protonico.

Cox didn’t give any indication of where or when First Mission would make his next start.