Celtic Chaos wins second Morrissey by a nose

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Two summers ago, Zilla Racing Stables’ Celtic Chaos (Dublin) won the 6 1/2-furlong, $100,000 John Morrissey Stakes for older New York-breds at Saratoga with an explosive and well-timed late charge from well off the pace. This is the way he has earned virtually all of his victories.

In Sunday’s renewal of the race, however, he earned his ninth career win and third stakes victory by staying closer to the pace. Already on the scene when four horses lined up across the track in the final stages, the chestnut put his determination on full display when he dug deep to prevail by a nose.

Originally scheduled for 10 days ago on Thursday, July 25, the Morrissey was rained out when a freakish storm inundated an unsealed track, leading to a cancellation of the second half of the card. The original six rivals reentered when the race was redrawn for Sunday plus Vincento, who ended up scratching.

Coming into this year’s Morrissey, Celtic Chaos was in sharp form, winning an open $100,000 optional claiming race by nearly three lengths at Belmont Park on May 31 for which he earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 100. That victory was his first race under jockey Dylan Davis and he lay a little closer than usual to the pace that day. Davis had the return call on Sunday.

After the break, 8-5 favorite Gold for the King assumed the pacesetter’s role from post five, kept to an honest tempo by Eye Luv Lulu to his outside. T Loves a Fight raced in third at the rail and Celtic Chaos (5-1 fourth choice) was fourth.

The order of the top four remained unchanged as the field entered the turn, with Gold For the King extending his lead to two lengths. Celtic Chaos advanced between horses in the bend and at the head of the stretch spun out widest of all.

NYRA/Coglianese Photos

With a furlong to go, four horses were in with a shot: T Loves a Fight at the rail, Gold for the King in the two path, Built to Suit three-wide and Celtic Chaos on the outside.

By the finish line the four contenders were winnowed down to two, with the noses of Celtic Chaos and Built to Suit going up and down at wire. It took a photo to determine that Celtic Chaos got there first.

Build to Suit (5-2) in second, finished a length ahead of Gold for the King who was third. T Loves a Fight completed the superfecta another three-quarters of a length back, while Eye Luv Lulu and Saratoga Giro completed the order of finish. After opening splits of 22.79 and 45.70, six furlongs went in 1:09.33 and the final time for 6 1/2 furlongs over the fast track was 1:15.45. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Davis reported, “[Celtic Chaos] broke a lot sharper than usual and I just wanted to get him in good rhythm. He wanted to get running, so I took a shot going outside and he got it done. He dug in when [Manny] Franco [on Build to Suit] came up on the inside and he really fought to the wire. I thought I was on the losing side, but he got the head bob.”

Franco, on the losing end of that bob, said, “[Build to Suit] gave me all he had, and that was just a bad bob. He just got beat. He ran hard.”

Brad Cox, who took over Celtic Chaos’ training from Kiaran McLaughlin in July 2018, said, “I honestly didn’t think he got there, but the with a photo, you’ve got a shot, and then they put his number up. It was good. Dylan did a great job riding him. He put him in a great position. He’s put him up in the race a little closer the last couple races and it’s worked out really well. I’m very proud of him.”

Bred by Spendthrift Farm LLC and foaled at Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, Celtic Chaos is by former New York sire Dublin who has since relocated to Pennsylvania. Celtic Chaos’ dam Let Joy Reign, has produced five winners from six to race, including Louisiana-bred stakes-winner Osi Posse and Kentucky-bred multiple stakes performer Get a Notion. She produced a filly by American Pharoah this year.

Zilla Racing Stables purchased Celtic Chaos as a juvenile for $55,000 at the 2015 OBS spring sale.

In 35 starts, Celtic Chaos has compiled a record of nine wins, five seconds and eight thirds with 35 $659,947 in earnings. In addition to has pair of Morrissey wins, he captured the Affirmed Success stakes for state-breds in 2017 and has placed in six additional stakes races.

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