Red Knight returns with Colonial Cup victory

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

Red Knight returns from almost a year layoff to win Wednesday’s Colonial Cup. Coady Photography.

Trinity Farm’s homebred Red Knight returned from almost a year on the sidelines and won Wednesday’s $156,000 Colonial Cup Stakes at Colonial Downs.

The 8-year-old Pure Prize gelding hadn’t been out since finishing sixth and 10 3/4 lengths back in the John’s Call Stakes in late August at Saratoga Race Course. Red Knight also made his first start for trainer Mike Maker in the 12-furlong Colonial Cup after running previously for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott.

The Colonial Cup was run two days later than originally scheduled after extreme heat forced officials from Colonial Downs to cancel racing Monday. The fixture was run as it was originally drawn with 11 runners led by multiple steeplechase Grade 1 winner Snap Decision, recent Grade 3 Louisville winner Cellist, former English Group 3 winner La Lune and Red Knight.

A three-time stakes winner coming in to the Colonial Cup, including the Grade 3 Sycamore at Keeneland in 2020, Red Knight went of 9-2 in his comeback under Horacio Karamanos. He settled toward the back of the field, which was disrupted in the early stages when Nathan Detroit lost jockey William Humphrey.

Karamanos kept Red Knight covered up in the early stages while Cellist and La Lune battled through the opening half-mile in :48.27. La Lune wrested a short lead from Cellist after a mile, with Bakers Bay, Bluegrass Parkway, Another Mystery and Snap Decision following the top pair.

Karamanos guided Red Knight to the outside around the far turn the final time, launching a four-wide bid past the stalkers and eventually the leaders. Less than a length behind with a quarter-mile to run, Red Knight collared Another Mystery outside the sixteenth pole and drew off to a 1 1/2-length win in 2:27.31 over the firm turf. Another Mystery held second, a head in front of Snap Decision.

“I got a good break and saved ground early,” Karamanos said. “The trainer told me the horse is ready to win so save ground and wait for your moment. In the second turn he wanted to go but I wouldn’t let him go. I tried to hold him back as best I could. At the top of the stretch, I finally let him go. He gave me a nice kick. He’s got a long, beautiful stride so I just let him go.”

Red Knight’s connections celebrate another stakes victory for the 8-year-old homebred gelding Wednesday at Colonial Downs. Coady Photography.

Red Knight added the Colonial Cup to his victory in the 2020 Sycamore at Keeneland in stakes-record time of 2:28.81 for 12 furlongs. He also won the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes going 2 miles at Gulfstream Park in 2018 and the Point of Entry Stakes at 1 1/2 miles in 2019 at Belmont Park. He improved to 9-for-27 with eight seconds and one third and earned $90,000 to boost his earnings to $893,258 in the Colonial Cup.

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Red Knight is one of five winners produced by the late Skip Away mare Isabel Away.

Isabel Away’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. Macagone ran until late in his 9-year-old season and won 11 of 47 starts and earned $654,981.

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. Isabel Away is also the dam of Druid, a 4-year-old New York-bred gelding by Magician entered for his fifth start Friday at Saratoga.

Trinity Farm’s Tom Egan was confident heading into the Colonial Cup.

“I had high expectations because this horse is a terrific racehorse,” he said. “Mike Maker thought he’d run a very big race and he did. He was coming off a long layoff. He needed every bit of that layoff. … He has a lot of zest for racing. We bred him and we owned his mother.”

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