Red Knight rolls to stakes-record win in Grade 3 Sycamore

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Red Knight joins Simply Ravishing as NY-bred graded stakes winners this fall at Keeneland with stakes-record win in Grade 3 Sycamore. Keeneland Photo.

By Tom Law

The late Jaye Egan took a shine to a gray filly by Horse of the Year Skip Away while scouting yearlings at the 2003 Keeneland September sale.

“She liked her a lot,” said Egan’s husband Thomas, part of the team that makes up Trinity Farm along with Liam and Mary Egan, back in early 2017.

The instincts of Jaye Egan, who passed away in late 2016, proved spot on as that filly, purchased for $60,000 and later named Isabel Away, won on the racetrack carrying Trinity’s yellow and royal blue colors and is proving to be an even bigger success as a broodmare. The latest success for Trinity Farm and Isabel Away came Thursday at Keeneland Race Course when Red Knight, a 6-year-old New York-bred gelding by Pure Prize owned and bred by Trinity Farm, set a stakes record and became a graded stakes winner taking the featured Grade 3 Sycamore going 12 furlongs on the grass.

Red Knight, the winner of the Point Of Entry on the grass almost a year ago to the day at the same distance at Aqueduct and winner of the 2-mile H. Allen Jerkens in late 2018 at Gulfstream, benefited from a well-timed and calculated ride from James Graham to win the $150,000 Sycamore by 2 lengths over pacesetting Postulation.

Red Knight, who improved to 8-for-21 and $732,158 in earnings, won in 2:28.81 to top the prior stakes mark of 2:29.55 set by Sharbayan in 2003. He also became the second New York-bred to win a graded stakes at the current Keeneland fall meet, joining Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes winner Simply Ravishing.

Graham kept Red Knight, second in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup last time at Kentucky Downs in his first start since late January, toward the back of the Sycamore field early while Postulation and Julien Leparoux carved out early fractions of :24.84 and :51.08. Still eighth after a mile in 1:40.76, Red Knight rolled between Eons and eventual third-place finisher Ziyad around the far turn and was up to fourth turning for home after 10 furlongs in 2:04.85.

Red Knight kept his momentum in the lane, took the lead from Postulation at the eighth pole and drew off. Postulation finished a head in front of Ziyad, with North Dakota another head back in fourth.

“I saw what was happening around me,” Graham said of his winning trip. “Manny (Franco on Ziyad) moved out around the backside. Brian (Hernandez)’s horse (Eons) started to come out under pressure, and I split two horses and (Red Knight) came right back on the bridle, which was great. Then he accelerated turning for home.

“Everything went great. He was probably 2 lengths further back than I wanted to be, but it worked out.”

Kenny McCarthy, who saddled Red Knight for his boss and Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, also thought Red Knight might be closer like he was at Kentucky Downs but didn’t fret much over the long-winded gelding.

“I had similar thoughts,” McCarthy said. “I wished he was a little bit closer. Wonderful ride by James, a great decision on the turn to split those horses. And then he really picked the horse up and finished strongly.”

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Red Knight is one of five winners produced by the late Isabel Way. He improved to 8-for-21 and boosted his bankroll to $732,158 with his first graded win.

Isabel Way’s first stakes winner was Macagone, a finalist for champion New York-bred turf male honors in 2016  after a season highlighted by the first of two wins in the Danger’s Hour Stakes carrying Trinity’s colors. The now 9-year-old gelding by Artie Schiller remains in training for other connections and has won 11 of 45 starts for $654,531 in earnings.

Other winners for Isabel Way are Birchwood Road, a $252,002 earner on the New York circuit who became a steeplechaser; Jaye Jaye, the winner of her first two starts before trying stakes company; and Rosssellini, a filly by Freud who sold for $40,000 as a yearling at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale.

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