Odds-on favourite Shore Runner looked anything but a sure thing when he was side-swiped soon after the start of the LR Lucky Coin Stakes (1100m) at Saratoga on Monday.
The More Than Ready sprinter was heavily backed to win on his stakes debut and he responded with a ferocious finish to score a last-stride victory under jockey Kendrick Carmouche.
Shore Runner is the 146th stakes winner by More Than Ready and he can join a growing list of Group 1 winners by the Vinery champion in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (1100m) at Keeneland on October 31.
“That was a tough trip,” trainer Joe Sharp said. “I had all the confidence in the world with Kendrick. He gave the horse a great ride from the one hole. Nobody wants to be on the inside on the grass.”
Shore Runner (5g More Than Ready – Miss Mary Pat by Service Stripe) had won his latest two starts over 1200m on turf at Belmont Park before taking on a group of experienced black-type performers at Saratoga.
“The main thing is you have to be patient,” said Carmouche. “If you have the best horse, you have to just let him break out of there and hope for room at the end. I knew my horse was running and I was riding hard enough to get it.”
More Than Ready will be gunning for a second Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint this year after Regally Ready claimed the 2011 edition at Churchill Downs. He stands at Vinery for a $66,000 (inc GST) service fee.