‘He Doesn’t Seem Like A 2-Year-Old’: Packs A Wahlop Breeders’ Cup Bound After Zuma Beach Win

A rangy gray colt by Creative Cause, Packs a Wahlop has a stride to match and he proved much best in Sunday’s $200,000 Zuma Beach Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita as he glided to a facile 2 ¾-length win.

In garnering his third consecutive win and second one-mile turf stakes victory, Packs a Wahlop stamped his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) Nov. 4 at Keeneland. Trained by Jeff Mullins and owned by Red Baron’s Barn LLC and Rancho Temescal LLC, Packs a Wahlop got the trip in 1:34.07 on turf rated as firm.

Attentive to the early pace while a restrained in third, 1 1/2 lengths off longshot pacesetter Castleknock into the first turn, Packs a Wahlop settled into a rhythmic stride up the backside, drew even with Castleknock with a furlong to run, and won with his ears pricked under at hand ride from Mike Smith.

“On top of such a big, beautiful stride, this horse is just so athletic,” said Smith, who collected his second stakes on the day. “He doesn’t seem like a 2-year-old, I swear, he’s four! He’s naturally quick, with a very high cruising speed so he puts you right where you need to be.

“If they let him go, he’ll keep on running and if someone else wants to go, he settles in behind them. I mean, when I asked him to run, he just opens up that stride and it’s crazy. … It feels great to win two stakes today. Keeping me young. I’m going back in age.”

Ridden for the third consecutive time by Smith after running fourth on a sloppy main track in his debut at Gulfstream Park June 3, Packs a Wahlop was the even-money favorite among 11 juveniles and paid $4.

Packs a Wahlop, who was purchased $270,000 earlier this year at the OBS Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training, notched his first graded stakes win and entered Sunday’s race off a victory in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf.

With the winner’s share of $120,000, Packs a Wahlop, who is out of the City Zip mare City by the Bay, has earnings of $230,000. He was bred in Kentucky by Oak Ridge Farm.

“He’s probably one of the best ones I’ve had my hands on for a while,” said Mullins. “When he was in Florida, he was doing things that were not normal. … Unfortunately, he hit a muddy track (at Gulfstream) and didn’t really handle it that well. Once he hit the grass, I mean…(His form) may even transfer to the dirt, he’s just a really nice horse.”

Off at 44-1 with Edwin Maldonado, Castlerock stayed gamely for the place, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of 12-1 Malibu Coast under Ramon Vazquez.

Fractions on the race were :22.85, :46.70, 1:10.57, and 1:22.34.

Pack a Wahlop was the second graded stakes Sunday for Airdrie Stud resident sire Creative Cause, whose son King Cause captured the Knickerbocker (G3) at the Belmont at the Big A meet.

G3 ZUMA BEACH STAKES QUOTES

JOCKEY QUOTES

MIKE SMITH, PACKS A WAHLOP, WINNER: “On top of such a big, beautiful stride, this horse is just so athletic. He doesn’t seem like a 2-year-old, I swear he’s four! He’s naturally quick, with a very high cruising speed so he puts you right where you need to be. If they let him go, he’ll keep on running and if someone else wants to go, he settles in behind them. I mean, when I asked him to run, he just opens up that stride and it’s crazy…It feels great to win two stakes today. Keeping me young. I’m going back in age.”

TRAINER QUOTES

JEFF MULLINS, PACKS A WAHLOP, WINNER: “He’s a pretty nice horse. He’s probably one of the best ones I’ve had my hands on for a while. When he was in Florida, he was doing things that were not normal…Unfortunately, he hit a muddy track (at Gulfstream) and didn’t really handle it that well. Once he hit the grass, I mean…(His form) may even transfer to the dirt, he’s just a really nice horse.

“Tim and Jed Cohen are great guys, they’ve been the best part of my career for the past three or four years, so I want to thank them and it’s just a blessing to have a horse like this.”

The post ‘He Doesn’t Seem Like A 2-Year-Old’: Packs A Wahlop Breeders’ Cup Bound After Zuma Beach Win appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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