By Sarah Mace
Curragh Stables’ Caledonian is developing a flair for the dramatic holiday statement. Winner of the Lost In the Fog Stakes in deep stretch by a determined neck at Aqueduct on New Year’s Day, the grey son of Concord Point rallied from last and split horses in the stretch to win the 6-furlong, $100,000 Jimmy Winkfield for 3-year-olds on Monday’s special President’s Day card at the Big A.
After the break, the compact but salty field of five engaged in an all-out scramble for the lead. Caledonian, a closer and the longshot of the field at 10-1, brought up the rear, four lengths behind pacesetter and 4-5 favorite Bavaro, who led fellow speedster Shoe Loves Shoe by a length on the backstretch through a first quarter in 22.90.
As the field approached the far turn, Caledonian advanced into fourth at the rail and saved ground through the turn before angling out for the drive.
Bavaro yielded to Shoe Loves Shoe, Caledonian moved up with 3-2 Sal the Turtle to his outside to the outside of “Shoe,” and threaded his way through the narrow gap between them with a furlong to go.
In the final stages Even Thunder launched a menacing bid on the far outside, but Caledonian dug in gamely to save the victory by a nose. Sal the Turtle finshed third, 1 1/2 lengths back. The two speeds, Shoe Loves Shoe and Bavaro, completed the order of finish. After a half in 46.80, the final time for the race was 1:12.19. [VIDEO REPLAY]
“We missed a couple of breezes with him coming in, so we thought he might be a little bit short for this,” said winning trainer John Terranova, “but he had such a great breeze the other day working against a really nice horse of ours we have in the barn, and did it well so we felt very confident coming in. We thought he was going to run a big race, we just weren’t sure if he was fine-tuned enough to get it done, but he’s just been a honest horse…tough, gutsy and tries hard.”
Terranova also felt that the race developed according to plan. “We got the pace setup we wanted. I told Eric [Cancel] to just sit back and wait for it and hopefully they’ll set a good pace up front and we’ll close into it. He gets up. He worked hard for it and kept on fighting.”
Cancel, aboard for four out of Caledonian’s five career starts, said, “I knew there were better horses out there this time compared to [the Lost In the Fog]. I had to really get after him. Last time, I let him get comfortable. I knew today I needed to get after him earlier.”
Also, the finish was so close, Cancel was unsure about the outcome: “I thought I got beat because by the angle I had. [Even Thunder] looked in front. But thankfully we ended up with a victory.”
Bred by Kaleem Shah Inc. and foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, Caledonian broke his maiden for a $50,000 tag second out on September 21. He has won two of three subsequent starts, both stakes races, and finished second by only a neck in a starter allowance, bankrolling a total of $156,565.
Caledonian is the first foal out of Dazzling Display, a Kentucky-bred winner by Dehere, purchased by Bob Baffert for Shah, at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton February juvenile sale for $250,000.
Dazzling Display has produced two full siblings to Caledonian: an unnamed 2-year-old filly and a yearling colt called Kaluga Bob. She was bred in 2016 to Self Control.