Virginia-breds American Dubai and Code West squared off for the third time in stakes competition this year on Sunday in the $175,000 Governor’s Cup Stakes at Remington Park. The former, bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, finished 2nd and 3rd — a notch better than his competitor — in both the recent Rasmussen Stakes and Cornhusker Handicap. Code West finished a notch better Sunday though, missing victory by three-quarters of a length behind the winner, Iron Fist.
In ten starts this year, American Dubai has five wins to go with a pair of seconds and thirds, good for purse earnings of $332,310. Code West, a 7 year old ridgling bred by Edward Evans, has bankrolled $82,000 in 2017 and $761,227 from 34 career starts. Here is Sunday’s stakes recap from The Paulick Report.
Whispering Oaks Farm’s Iron Fist has now won three of his last four starts, holding off the challenge from Code West to win Sunday’s $175,000 Governor’s Cup Stakes by about three-quarters of a length at Remington Park. The 5-year-old son of Tapit, ridden by Ricardo Santana for trainer Steve Asmussen, came from off the pace to complete nine furlongs over the fast main track in 1:48.31. Both Iron Fist and third-place finisher American Dubai went off at even money.
Santana and Asmussen have now won three stakes on the Oklahoma Derby undercard, including the $50,000 Flashy Lady with Golden Mischief and the $100,000 Remington Green with Turbo Street.
Iron Fist was slow into stride leaving the starting gate, allowing American Dubai and Dan the Go To Man to head out for the lead. American Dubai strode out to a 3/4-length lead over Dan the Go To Man, with Code West hung three-wide in the first turn. Iron Fist was initially at the rear of the five horse field, but Texas Chrome was wrestled back to that position to be along the rail.
Through fractions of :24.00, :47.55, and 1:10.78, Santana was patient with Iron Fist. The rest of the field began to challenge the leading American Dubai at the three-eighths pole, with Texas Chrome sneaking up the rail and Code West out in the four path. At the quarter pole, Santana finally cued Iron Fist to go for the lead and he took the ridgling five-wide around the last part of the turn.
As the five-horse field lined up five-wide at the head of the lane, Iron Fist cruised to the lead. Code West hung with the new leader throughout the stretch drive, but Iron Fist did just enough to hold that rival at bay without really exerting himself. At the wire, Iron Fist was in front by three-quarters of a length over Code West. American Dubai was third, while Texas Chrome was unable to take advantage of his inside trip and tired to fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Gainesway, Iron Fist was a $1.55 million yearling at the Keeneland September sale. He began his career in the colors of Stonestreet Stable and Regis Farm, under the care of Jerry Hollendorfer, but could not break his maiden until his fifth start. After nearly a 10-month break through early 2016, Iron Fist re-appeared in Asmussen’s barn.
Iron Fist has really come into his own in 2017, winning four of his eight starts in stakes company. The Governor’s Cup improves his career record to 8-5-4 from 22 starts, with earnings just shy of $1 million.