After DOMESTIC SPENDING's performance on Saturday at Belmont Park, he left no questions as to who's the top Turf horse in America.
He defeated a deep cast of turf specialists, which included reigning Pegasus World Cup Turf champion, COLONEL LIAM, and recent Man o' War Stakes winner, CHANNEL CAT. The rest of the competitor's who showed up to the big stage? All left in the dust.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, trained by Chad Brad and owned by Klaravich Stables, DOMESTIC SPENDING utilized his familiar lightning turn-of-foot and captured the $750K Manhattan Stakes (G1) for his fourth consecutive victory and third Grade 1 win in a row.
DOMESTIC SPENDING broke well and characteristically took his position toward the back of the pack, while stablemate TRIBHUVAN cleared the lead by five lengths, setting early fractions of 23.81, 48.95 and 1:11.00 for the first six furlongs. They raced strung out through the backside, almost twenty lengths from front to back, with GUFO loping along at the rear.
Turning for home, TRIBHUVAN still had a three-length advantage, with CHANNEL CAT and COLONEL LIAM commencing their rally from the second flight. Prat swung DOMESTIC SPENDING into the clear for his run, with GUFO tailing him and going widest of them all.
But when they straightened for the stretch, it was all DOMESTIC SPENDING — he turned on the jets for Flavien Prat and flew to the wire, leaving the field in his wake.
"I got him to relax all the way around there," said winning jockey Flavien Prat, per Marcus Hersh, DRF.
"When it was time to move, he responded really well. He was floating a bit down the lane when he was by himself, but he ran a good race. He went a mile and a quarter well today."
TRIBHUVAN tried to make a race of it, but had to settle for second, three lengths behind the eventual winner.
GUFO got rolling late, but could only manage to get up for third. The final time was 1:59.08 for the one mile and one-quarter on turf.
"This has been an important race for us," trainer Chad Brown said, per Jessica Martini, TDN.
"It is one of the premier turf races for males at a Classic distance in the country and I hold it in high regard. We point to it every year, and I've been so lucky, me and my team, to have some good horses through the years to work with."
DOMESTIC SPENDING paid $5.00 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.70 to show. He is by KINGMAN out of URBAN CASTLE by STREET CRY. He's now won 6 of 7 races with three Grade 1 victories to his name. He pushed his earnings to $1,314,500 and earned a new top speed figure to shoe.
Trainer Chad Brown also commented on the decision to geld his turf star.
"[Domestic Spending] has been a particular challenge," trainer Chad Brown said.
"We had to geld him after his 2-year-old year, even with that breeding, because he wouldn't train. We had several different people on our team working with this horse, down at Stonestreet and down in Ocala. So many people have touched this horse and really worked with him and got his natural ability out of him. The latest is Flavien, who is now getting along just terrific with this horse. It's really my team. They've done an outstanding job developing this horse. There was a point in time when he was a baby that I didn't think we'd ever get him to the races."
DOMESTIC SPENDING could potentially make his next start in the $600K Mister D. Stakes, formerly the Arlington Million, and continue along BRICKS AND MORTAR's path to the Breeder's Cup Turf.
BRICKS AND MORTAR was another turf specialist from the Chad Brown barn; a champion calibur horse who swept the Turf Classic, Manhattan, and then the Breeder's Cup Turf.
"He [Domestic Spending] looks like a horse who might have his best races ahead of him," said Brown.
Source: Equibase, Marcus Hersh, DailyRacingForm, Jessica Martini, Thoroughbred Daily News