Celtic Chaos wins loaded edition of John Morrissey with thrilling late charge

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Zilla Racing Stables’ Celtic Chaos (Dublin) can do little wrong these days. That includes on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga, when the 4-year-old colt charged down the center of the course to cut down a gritty Ostrolenka and win a loaded edition of the $100,000 John Morrissey Stakes for older New York-breds.

The victory was Celtic Chaos’ third straight win, second consecutive stakes score and the fifth win of the 2017 Saratoga meet for the white-hot barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

A one-run closer who depends on some pace to run into, Celtic Chaos was drawn in the outside post of nine under Eric Cancel for the 6 1/2-furlong tilt over a muddy (sealed) racetrack. Going in, his conditioner was a little concerned about the way the race was going to set up. “We were worried about the track. He likes it wet, but so do others,” said McLaughlin. “We wanted a fast pace when we saw [speedster] Bustin It as well as a couple others [Candid Desire and Weekend Hideaway] scratch.”

Sent off as the 5-1 fourth choice in this competitive group, Celtic Chaos settled next-to-last shortly after the break, while freewheeling longshot Brimstone clocked the first quarter in 21.74 on the front end.

Celtic Chaos passed one rival along the backstretch then advanced toward the vanguard in the approach to the far turn, with early trailer Papa Shot hot on his heels. Four wide in the turn the colt fanned out in the seven path at the head of the stretch as the half went in 44.96.

While Celtic Chaos unleashed his charge in the center of the track, Ostrolenka split horses to take over control in midstretch from third. Celtic Chaos quickly caught up with the new leader, and despite a stubborn foe and some brushing in the final strides, got up to win by a game neck. After six furlongs in 1:10.81, Celtic Chaos stopped the clock at 1:17.65.

Papa Shot, well back early with the winner, got up for third another 2 1/2 lengths back. T Loves a Fight and 7-2 favorite Gypsum Johnny followed a neck apart in fourth and fifth. Completing the order of finish were pacesetter Brimstone, Eye Luv Lulu, Fish Trappe Road and Breakin the Fever. [REPLAY].

“Every single time I ride this horse he gives me 100 percent,” enthused jockey Eric Cancel. “Today, we had a wonderful trip. He felt really comfortable where he was along the inside and he was relaxed. He was running so I had to take swing him out. Like always, he was there for me and finished strong.” McLaughlin added, “Eric [Cancel] gets along great with this horse and everything worked out today.”

McLaughlin said, “I was a little worried in the stretch. I thought he was lugging in a little bit and I didn’t want to see any bumping but it all worked out and it was a fun day to win with these owners. It’s great for the Zilla [Racing Stables] group so many of them are from Saratoga and they have a lot of passion for the game.”

At three Celtic Chaos had a strong campaign, winning two races and finishing six times in the money, but has really blossomed at four. Never out of the exacta in six 2017 starts, the colt won through his state-bred conditions in Aqueduct in early April. Next out in his stakes debut in the Affirmed Success Stakes on April 28, he made a terrific last-to-first run to get the money. In 19 starts, the Celtic Chaos has six wins, four seconds and three thirds and has earned $380,780.

Bred by Spendthrift Farm LLC and foaled at Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, Celtic Chaos is from the first crop of Dublin, who stands at Keane Stud in Amenia. His dam Let Joy Reign, has produced five winners from five to race, including Louisiana-bred stakes-winner Osi Posse and Kentucky-bred multiple stakes performer Get a Notion. Zilla purchased Celtic Chaos for $55,000 at the 2015 OBS spring sale.

One Response to “Celtic Chaos wins loaded edition of John Morrissey with thrilling late charge”

  1. KitKat says:

    Great article!! Love reading about one of our Zilla horses. He’s been magi for all the partners

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