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2007 Kentucky Jockey Club winner Anak Nakal in front of the Twin Spires

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2007 Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod Stakes

Date: 11/24/07

The $250,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) is the last stakes race at Churchill Downs for the year, and featured a field of seven 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. The winner automatically earns a nomination to the 2008 Triple Crown. Halo Najib was sent off as the 7-5 favorite off a maiden win and a close second in the Iroquois. Maiden and allowance winner Cool Coal Man was the 5-2 second choice, over 9-2 third choice Racecar Rhapsody, a maiden winner last out.

Anak Nakal winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes
Halo Najib battled on the front end with Cool Coal Man through fractions of 23.72, 46.94, and 1:11.56 with 10-1 Mythical Pegasus stalking them in third. Cool Coal Man and Mythical Pegasus dropped from contention at the top of the lane as Halo Najib continued to lead to the 1/8 pole. However, he faded late as 8-1 Anak Natal, who raced in fourth early, moved four wide on the turn to take over at the 1/16 pole, and was all out to hold off late-running 9-1 Blackberry Road in the final strides to prevail by 1/2 a length in 1:43.16 over the fast track. It was just a head back to another closer, Racecar Rhapsody.

Winning trainer Nick Zito said, "I told everyone, 'Don't forget this horse.' The progression has been perfect, he went from seven furlongs to a mile to a mile and a sixteenth, and this was a good race. He is a nice horse. He reminds me a lot of The Cliff's Edge. These races have produced a lot of horses and he looks like he will go a distance of ground. When you win a race like this you just want to have your eyes on the Derby, and hopefully not run him too many times and pick somewhere to run before the Derby. You just hope you have a good winter. He will go to Palm Meadows (in Florida)."

Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "He is kind of a grinder. He is a long-striding horse and that's why I was kind of asking him (leaving the backstretch) because he does not have much of a kick but he just keeps on going. The pace in front of me was ideal and the race set up perfect."

 #  Horse                Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 1  Anak Nakal           Leparoux      18.40   8.80   5.80
 8  Blackberry Road      Borel                 7.80   4.40
 5  Racecar Rhapsody     Albarado                     4.40

$2 Exacta  1-8              176.40
$2 Trifecta 1-8-5         1,139.20
$2 Superfecta 1-8-5-2     6,483.00
Winning Time:  1:43.16
Results Chart

Second place finisher Blackberry Road in the post parade. The 9-1 shot raced at the back of the field saving ground around both turns under Calvin Borel and closed through the lane, finishing just 1/2 a length short. The David Carroll trainee improved his record to 1 win, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 6 starts, doubling his earnings to $108,250 for owner Dogwood Stable.

Third place finisher Racecar Rhapsody in the post parade. The 9-2 third choice raced in fifth early, came out five wide for the drive and closed steadily late to get third place under jockey Robby Albarado. The Ken McPeek trainee improved his record to 1 win, 1 second, and 1 third in 3 starts, earning $68,391 for owners Jerry L. Carroll and Stan Kaplan.

Pure Clan wins the 2007 Golden Rod Stakes

The $250,000 Golden Rod Stakes (G2) is the distaff counterpart to the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, featuring 2-year-old fillies also going 1 1/16 miles on the main track, with the winner earning a nomination to the 2008 Kentucky Oaks. Turn Away, winner of her debut by 9 lengths, was sent off as the even-money favorite over 3-1 second choice Pure Clan, undefeated in three starts including the Pocahontas last out. 5-1 Sunday Holiday, third in both the Frizette and Tempted stakes rounded out the top three on the board.

20-1 Morakami battled on the pace with 6-1 C J's Leelee through a quarter in 24.75 and a half in 48.82, while being stalked by Sunday Holiday in third. Turn Away say in fourth down the backstretch. On the far turn, Morakami tired and dropped from contention allowing C J's Leelee to inherit the lead into the stretch. However, Pure Clan closed down the center of the track to win going away by 2 lengths in 1:43.59. It was just 3/4 length back from C J's Leelee to Turn Away who had to alter course in the lane and couldn't improve her position.

Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "At the 1/4 pole, she really kicked in. She is getting better every race. Last time I was on her, she was a little green, but today she was much better."

Her trainer Robert Holthus said, "She has really been a surprise. When she came from the farm no one really had a lot of high hopes for her, but she turned into a good one. It has been a pleasant surprise. When she was that close turning for home, I thought we would get it. We are going to take her to Oaklawn Park and give her about 30 days off, and she will probably make her first start back in March."

 #  Horse                Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 1  Pure Clan            Leparoux       7.80   4.00   2.80
 4  C J's Leelee         Albarado              6.20   3.40
 3  Turn Away            Bejarano                     2.20

$2 Exacta  1-4               40.00
$2 Trifecta 1-4-3            94.40
$2 Superfecta 1-4-3-5       236.00
Winning Time:  1:43.59
Results Chart

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