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Hoist the Gold Has His Day in Phoenix Score

The only thing missing was a stakes victory. Four-year-old Hoist the Gold  had placed five times in his career in black-type events and raced up and down the East Coast from Belmont Park to Del Mar. Despite only winning three times from 23 starts, the son of Mineshaft had amassed a bankroll of $603,822. That unlucky void was filled Oct. 6 when the tough campaigner stole the show in the $349,375 Phoenix Stakes (G2) opening day at Keeneland.

“He’s a horse that’s knocked at the door,” trainer Dallas Stewart said of Hoist the Gold. “He’s remained healthy he’s kept his weight good with all the traveling. He’s a good traveler. You could put him on a plane tonight and it wouldn’t do anything for him. He’s that easy of a keeper.”

Those attributes will only play into Hoist the Gold’s favor when he journeys out to Santa Anita Park for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Nov. 4. The Dream Team One Racing Stable homebred secured his slot in the starting gate for the Sprint by virtue of his Phoenix triumph, which was a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In event.

“When you show up with a nice horse and a jock (John Velazquez) that’s won five grade 1s for you, you got a lot of confidence,” Stewart said. “I didn’t worry about a thing down the backside. It played out perfect. He got him out. The horse loves this track. He came home good, so we know where we’re going Nov. 4.”

Canterbury shipper Doctor Oscar  and Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) victor Sibelius  dictated the early pace from the gate, blazing through a :21.79 opening quarter and :44.83 half-mile. Velazquez tracked the hot pace in third, and when the frontrunners folded turning for home he angled Hoist the Gold outside and urged him into the clear. The colt surged forward willingly, seizing a 1 1/2-length advantage at the eighth pole and fending off a late closing Nakatomi  by three-quarters of a length at the wire.

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Hoist the Gold ($14.04) stopped the timer in 1:09.13 for the six furlongs on a fast main track.

Fan favorite and 3-1 second choice Bango , a perennial leading sprinter on the Kentucky circuit, closed gamely but had to settle for third, a neck behind favored Nakatomi.

“The horse did everything I asked him to. He ran as hard as he could—just weren’t able to get the money today,” jockey Tyler Gaffalione said of Bango.

Stewart said Hoist the Gold would train at Stewart’s Churchill Downs home base until shipping the colt out to California.

“I think he’ll run well in the Breeders’ Cup,” Stewart said. “He’s so versatile and if there’s not much pace he’ll be there and if he’s got to get off the pace he’ll come from off the pace with a punching move.”

Hoist the Gold is sired by Mineshaft  , who has sired six stakes winners this year, including San Diego Handicap (G2) victor Senor Buscador . A top-20 lifetime active sire, Mineshaft, a son of A.P. Indy, stood the 2023 breeding season at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky., for a fee of $10,000. With Senor Buscador’s win in the San Diego, a Breeders’ Cup Dirt Dozen challenge race for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and Hoist the Gold targeting the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Mineshaft could have two starters on Championship weekend.

Video: Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix S. (G2)

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