Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Double Thunder proved once again to be a colt of great promise with an eye-catching win in Monmouth Park’s Sapling Stakes.
The victory was hardly straightforward as the Todd Pletcher trainee had to overcome some adversity before being eased down in the shadow of the post.
Drawn in the one hole, the Super Saver colt was taken back in the field to be nearer last than first in the early stages. From there, jockey Paco Lopez had to call on all of his experience to manoeuvre through the pack to get into contention. His first attempt was up the rail, but he found his path blocked as the field moved through the turn. Switching to the outside Lopez and Double Thunder were far from ideally placed entering the stretch with still more horses in front than behind. Luckily the juvenile has talent and tenacity in equal measure and rallied late to pass all comers and surge into the lead inside the final furlong. Lopez even had time to take his foot off the gas as the pair coasted home.
“In the mornings it took him a little while to figure things out but his gate works showed he was probably going to be okay,” said Anthony Sciametta, assistant to Todd Pletcher. “I don’t think there was any concern about going two turns for the first time. If you look at all of his races it seems like he breaks a little slow, a step slow, but he always seems to come running. So I didn’t think that would be an issue. We were actually waiting for him to go longer. I’m pleased with the way he ran. He took dirt, he got in trouble by coming in and going out, so it wasn’t the best of trips and he still won.”
It was a second black-type success for Double Thunder, who had previously landed the G3 Bashford Manor Stake at Churchill Downs, while the success also takes his overall record to three wins in four starts.