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Clapton Edges Trademark in Lukas Classic Thriller

Purchased with dreams of Middle Eastern riches in mind, team Clapton  may have an enticing detour in their future in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) after the colt’s thrilling late running triumph in the $500,000 Lukas Classic Stakes (G2) Sept. 30 at Churchill Downs.

“Look (the Breeders’ Cup is) a $6 million race and I think he showed today distance isn’t a problem,” trainer Chad Summers said. “I think there will be pace in that race with some of those 3-year-olds and we’ll take a look at it.”

Clapton was secured by Summers on behalf of Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Alnuami’s RRR Racing a month ago with the goal of racing the 4-year-old son of Brethren in the Dubai Carnival races this winter. A winner of the Ghostzapper Stakes (G3) earlier this year for former owner and breeder Arindel Farm and trainer Juan Alvarado, Clapton made his first start for his new connections in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga, where he finished fourth.

“He got hung out very wide in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and closed the fastest fractions of the day. He only got beat 2 1/4 lengths for the whole thing,” Summers said. “We had a lot of confidence and we debated if we were going to stop on him and get him ready for the Dubai season and point for the Carnival races like the Maktoum Challenge races or to press on one more time in here. A lot of credit to the team from Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Alnuami to give us the confidence to push forward.

“Joel Rosario breezed him for us a few weeks ago (five furlongs in :59 1/5 at Belmont Park) and he worked absolutely awesome lights out. Unfortunately, Joel couldn’t make it but (jockey) Cristian (Torres) certainly filled in admirably.”

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Seventh of eight down the backstretch, Clapton was unhurried through the early stages of the Lukas Classic as longshot Five Star General  and Americanrevolution  posted sizzling splits of :23.12 and :46.66. Swallowing up the distance between the pacesetters with a six-wide move around the final turn, Clapton ran down a stubborn Trademark , who inherited the lead at the quarter pole, to prevail by a head.

Clapton ($18.32) raced the 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:48.79. The Florida-bred improved his bankroll to $823,450 after the Lukas Classic.  

Trademark was three-quarters of a length better than Blue Devil  in third.

Produced from the stakes-winning Afleet Alex  mare Alexandra Rylee, Clapton is a half brother to stakes-placed Knox. All five of Alexandra Rylee’s foals to race have been winners.

Clapton is the leading earner this year for his sire, Brethren  , who stood the 2023 breeding season at Arindel Farm in Ocala, Fla., for a fee of $4,000. The son of Distorted Humor boasts progeny earnings of $2,032,711 for the year and is currently ranked as the fourth leading sire in Florida

Video: Lukas Classic S. (G2)

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