Gutsy JCGC Runner-Up Proxy Could Go ‘Straight To The Breeders’ Cup’

Trainer Michael Stidham expressed a strong sense of pride in Godolphin’s homebred Proxy who, despite lacking racing room down the backstretch, was able to launch a strong stretch drive to come up a nose shy of victory in Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga. The gutsy effort garnered a 103 Beyer Speed Figure.

Proxy, a son of multiple champion-producing sire Tapit, added to a consistent record during his 5-year-old season which includes victories in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in April and the Monmouth Cup (G3) in July. His lone off-the-board efforts this season took place in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) in January at Gulfstream Park [fifth] and the Stephen Foster (G1) on July 1 at Ellis Park [eighth], where he drew the rail both times. Proxy also drew post 1 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

“The one-hole has been a huge detriment to us all year long,” Stidham noted. “If you look at his only bad races, they were both from the one-hole in the Pegasus and the Stephen Foster. When I saw we drew the one hole again here, it was very depressing, but he did overcome a lot of it yesterday and almost won in spite of it.”

Nevertheless, Stidham couldn’t be happier with his talented horse’s effort and said the performance was worthy enough to try the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on November 4 at Santa Anita Park.

“He certainly stamped himself in that top group to go to the Breeders’ Cup,” Stidham said. “I would say right now, we’re looking at just going straight to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Prior to the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Proxy’s lone 1 1/4-mile start took place in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) in March, where he made up eighth lengths to finish second beaten a neck to Stilleto Boy.

“The mile and a quarter definitely helps him,” Stidham said. “He just came up short both times. It’s right in his wheelhouse. We’ll see how it sets up, but we just hope we don’t draw the one hole again.”

Proxy’s strong run of form is nothing new. As a 3-year-old, he finished second in Fair Grounds Race Course’s Grade 3 Lecomte and Grade 2 Risen Star. He returned as a 4-year-old to post a 6-2-2-2 record, including a triumph at the end of the year in the Grade 1 Clark at Churchill Downs.

“As trainers, we are all striving to get to the very highest level,” Stidham said. “A horse that’s been able to do the right things since he was a 2-year-old is still around at the top level as a 5-year-old is what we all dream about getting to in the industry. I couldn’t be happier or prouder of the horse. The whole situation is a dream come true.”

The post Gutsy JCGC Runner-Up Proxy Could Go ‘Straight To The Breeders’ Cup’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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