WinStar Farm and Siena Farms' MAJOR GENERAL is the first to hit the board with points on the 2022 Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve. The New York invader won Saturday night's 40th running of the $300,000 Grade 3 Iroquois for 2-year-olds by a neck over TOUGH TO TAME at Churchill Downs.
The Todd Pletcher-trained MAJOR GENERAL was sent to the post at 9-2 second choice favorite. He covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track with jockey Javier Castellano aboard in 1:44.88. He earned $177,525 and 10 points to the Kentucky Derby. The Iroquois was the first of 37 select races on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby."
The Iroquois is also part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Juvenile Division Challenge. MAJOR GENERAL earned a spot in the starting gate for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar on Future Stars Friday. His entry fee will be paid by Breeders' Cup Ltd. and his connections will receive a travel stipend.
Like many other races over the weekend, there was a claim of foul in the race. ROGER MCQUEEN and MAGNOLIA MIDNIGHT battled head to head for the lead through the first 5 ½ furlongs setting opening fractions of :23.82, :47,89 and 1:12.83. MAJOR GENERAL stumbled at the break and raced in sixth down the backstretch.
At the final turn, he poked his head along with favorite STELLAR TAP in front leaving the turn. MAJOR GENERAL put away STELLAR TAP in the final furlong and had enough left in the tank to hold off the late running longshots TOUGH TO TAME (37-1), RED KNOBS (29-1) and BOURBON HEIST (10-1).
"I was a little surprised Ricardo claimed foul," Castellano siad. "Going past the three-sixteenths (of a mile) pole his horse's head sort of came into mine when he was switching leads and I don't think it affected the outcome of the race. After that, my horse was looking around a little bit when he got to the lead. This was his first time under the lights and with a crowd like this."
MAJOR GENERAL is perfect in two starts with earnings of $232,525. He was a $420,000 yearling purchase at the 2020 Keeneland September Sale. He is a Kentucky-bred by CONSTITUTION and out of NO MO LEMONS by UNCLE MO.