War Like Goddess Beats Boys in Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Elite Power Dominates Vosburgh

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War Like Goddess beats males to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Saturday at the Belmont at the Big A meet. (Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

War Like Goddess made history in the Grade 1 $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Oct. 8 and paved the way for her to potentially make more during the upcoming Breeders' Cup World Championships next month.

George Krikorian's 5-year-old daughter of English Channel, who is trained by Bill Mott, handily beat six male challengers in the 1 1/2-mile Turf Classic and will now be aimed for Nov. 5 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf at the same distance at Keeneland

Already a grade 1 winner at 1 3/8 miles and a two-time graded stakes winner at 12 furlongs, War Like Goddess was given a patient, stalking ride by Jose Lezcano. They tracked easily behind pacesetter Bye Bye Melvin and longshot Astronaut until the top of the stretch where she rolled easily to the lead to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Bye Bye Melvin hung on for second and 67-1 Astronaut was third by a nose over Soldier RisingRockemperor was fifth. The final time was 2:27.29.

"The filly is very easy to ride. She broke very good, and I moved her up a little more than I wanted to, but she seemed a little quiet, so I moved her up a little more," Lezcano said. "I wanted position at the start of the race and the 1 (Bye Bye Melvin) and the 4 (Astronaut) went, so I sat right there. I stepped aside and stayed there the whole way around. It was very easy to get there, there were only seven horses.

"She's a very nice mare and she does everything right. When I asked her, she gave me her race. She's a very good horse. When you ride a horse for Billy, you've always got a chance to win this kind of race," he said.

Jockey Feargal Lynch, who was aboard Bye Bye Melvin said he was proud of the performance by Alex Campbell Jr.'s 5-year-old son of Uncle Mo, who is trained by Graham Motion.

"He was picking it up and doing everything right. We just got run down by a nice horse," Lynch said. "He kept galloping all the way. He's a good horse and he belongs here. I'm just happy he showed how good he is."

War Like Goddess paid $3.90 to win as the 4-5 favorite and improved her record to 5-for-5 at 1 1/2 miles. The last female to win the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic was All Along, who prevailed in 1983 when the stakes was last contested at Aqueduct and known simply as the Turf Classic.

Elite Power Overwhelms Rivals to Win Vosburgh

Juddmonte's Elite Power made his stakes debut a winning one Oct. 8 in the Grade 2 $242,500 Vosburgh Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up at Belmont at the Big A.

Elite Power wins the 2022 Vosburgh to earn a spot in the Qatar Racing Breeders' Cup Sprint. (Chelsea Durand/NYRA)

The 4-year-old by Curlin secured a "Win and You're In" berth to the six-furlong $2 million Qatar Racing Breeders' Cup Sprint Nov. 5 at Keeneland.

"The timing was good, the distance was good, and it came up a good race for him," said Elite Power's Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. "Now, I'll speak with ( general manager) Garrett O'Rourke. We get a free ticket into the Breeders' Cup, so I'll see what he wants to do."

Elite Power broke alertly from post 4 in the five-horse field under Jose Lezcano but allowed Jalen Journey to rush up the rail to take command through an easy opening quarter mile in :23.66 over the fast main track.

Elite Power took over heading into the turn as multiple graded-stakes winner Drafted loomed large to his outside with Eastern Bay cueing up behind that one through a half-mile in :47.68. The trio lined up across the track late in the turn, but Elite Power drew off under a hand ride to secure a 5 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:23.98. Eastern Bay completed the exacta by five lengths over Drafted with Southern District and Jalen Journey completing the order of finish.

Mott said he was pleased with the trip for Elite Power, who raced closer to the leader than normal, owing to the slow pace.

"He did it pretty easy today," Lezcano said. "When I showed the whip at the three-sixteenths, he really took off and went on to win the race very comfortable."

Lightly raced due to shin issues earlier in his career, Elite Power finished off the board in a pair of sophomore starts. He has now racked up four consecutive wins this season.

Elite Power returned $3 for a $2 win ticket.

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