Cyberknife star Nest in weekend action – Saratogian


SARATOGA SPRINGS – This weekend’s races could have answered many questions. First, would the American Oaks Coaching Club reveal which of the two star sophomore fillies, Secret Oath or Nest, was more likely to be on course for a three-year championship? And two, could Jack Christopher stretch in the Haskell to become the strength around two rounds that he had shown himself to be around one?

A third question concerned Chad Brown, who appeared to have a chance to saddle the winners of six graded races on Friday and Saturday. Would this actually happen?

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Kentucky Derby entrant Cyberknife practices at Churchill Downs Friday, May 6, 2022, in Louisville, Ky. The 148th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 7. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

In answer to the first question, yes, the American Oaks Coaching Club has determined which of the two seemingly equal fillies has the inside track to a championship – and by a big margin. Shaking off a challenge from Secret Oath at the turn, Nest turned the race into a crowning achievement, leaving her rival sputtering in her wake as she triumphed by an emphatic 12¼ lengths.

With the victory, Nest finished in the exacta in four consecutive G1 races, winning the Ashland and Coaching Club and placing second in the Kentucky Oaks and Belmont. Curlin’s daughter gave trainer Todd Pletcher her eighth win in the 105-year race. The question now is whether Nest will return to Alabama in four weeks (August 20), to attempt to complete the Coaching Club/Alabama double that was last accomplished by Songbird in 2016.

In answer to the second question, no, Jack Christopher apparently doesn’t have the same strength around two laps as he did around one. The previously undefeated colt made a good run, pushing forward in the upper section to give way inside the eighth pole to Cyberknife and Taiba. The two winners of the preparation for the G1 Derby fought until the end, Cyberknife ahead of his rival to win by a head. Jack Christopher has had little help from his pedigree over the last furrow – he is by Munnings and a Half Ours mare, both mainly influenced by sprinting.

Cyberknife, a son of Gun Runner, won the race with a bold move engineered by jockey Florent Geroux. Seemingly trapped behind pacer Benevengo, Geroux guided his mount around the tiring longshot to give Cyberknife a clear run on the rail in a thrilling end to the nine furlong race. The winning time of 1:46.24 broke the previous mark set by Highly Motivated four races earlier in the Monmouth Cup.

Cyberknife and Taiba, who both finished strong in the Kentucky Derby, showed they were still in contention for the three-year-old championship. It remains to be determined whether they will appear in the Travers on August 27. As for Jack Christopher, he’s perhaps best suited for the seven-stadium H. Allen Jerkens Memorial, also a Grade 1, which will be run on the Travers undermap.

Chad Brown didn’t win the six graded races he had entrants in Friday and Saturday, but he came close. Beginning with the Lake George Stakes on Friday at Saratoga, Brown’s horses have won five consecutive appearances — the last four at Monmouth — including four races in which he had multiple runners (two or three). Those winners and their post-time odds were Dolce Zel (Lake George, 3-1), Highly Motivated (Monmouth Cup, 4-5), Lemista (Matchmaker, 9-2), Search Results (Molly Pitcher, 3- 5) and Adhamo (United Nations, 9-5).

The streak ended with Jack Christopher unable to stay in the Haskell.

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