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First Mission Surges to Win Off Five-Month Break

First Mission , sidelined shortly before this year’s Preakness Stakes (G1) with a left hind leg issue, appeared none the worse for wear in the Oct. 14 Keeneland nightcap, escaping heavy traffic in deep stretch to get up for an impressive neck score.

Godolphin’s homebred 3-year-old dark bay son of Street Sense  —facing a field of seven other second level allowance optional claimers—clearly put himself back in the mix as a stakes colt to be reckoned with the latter part of this year and 2024. He captured his third straight win off a five-month layoff.

Competing 1 1/16 miles on dirt, graded stakes winning Fort Mission sat patiently along the rail with rider Luis Saez behind fractions of :24.86, :49.73, 1:14.41, and 1.38.95 before easing off the inside while desperately looking for running room. That room didn’t come until the final 100 yards as the colt finally found a seam to run through while splitting horses four-wide and gamely getting up at the wire.

It was the second win on the card for Saez and back-to-back wins for Godolphin, who took the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1T) with Mawj  in race 9.

The Brad Cox trainee First Mission paid $2.84 to win as the heavy 2-5 favorite. Commandperformance  finished second and Cooke Creek  was third. The final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1.45.63 over a fast main track.

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First Mission, 3-1-0 in four starts with earnings of $348,110, is out of the winning Medaglia d’Oro   mare Elude .

Video: Race 10 (AOC) at KEE on 10/14/23


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