Next Beats Royal Prince, Helium To Wire In War Chant At Churchill Downs

Silverton Hill LLC’s homebred Next led every step of the way and comfortably won Saturday’s second running of the $150,000 War Chant Stakes at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. by 3 ¾ lengths over Royal Prince. Helium, the even-money favorite, was another 2 ¾ lengths back in third, who finished a head in front of Dyn O Mite.

Trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by John Velazquez, Next prevailed in a field of four 3-year-olds as he covered one mile on firm turf in 1:35.09 after setting comfortable fractions of :24.03, :48.40, and 1:12.53 without any pressure.

“I knew he was a pretty speedy horse so the situation worked out well today being on the front end,” Velazquez said. “He seems to do his best running when he can get a lead and he was able to get a pretty easy one today.”

The victory was worth $97,500 and increased Next’s earnings to $199,394 with a record of 3-0-0 in six starts. The Kentucky-bred son of Not This Time out of the Awesome Again mare Bahia Beach previously finished 11th at 22-1 in the $500,000 American Turf (Grade II) on the Kentucky Derby undercard. At age 2, he broke his maiden on turf at Kentucky Downs and won a first-level allowance on dirt at Keeneland before finishing last of 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI).

“He’s a really tough horse when he’s on the front end and when he comes from behind he’s just not the same horse,” Ward explained. “I thought if he broke well and was on the front end we’d have a great shot today.”

Next returned $6.60 and $3.20 at odds of 2-1. Royal Prince, ridden by Florent Geroux, returned $3. There was no show wagering because Accredit, El Kabong, In Effect, and Starrininmydreams were late scratches.

The War Chant, which is named in honor of the 3-year-old who won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs in 2000, was the first leg of the Derby City 6, which had a mandatory payout of the $166,087 jackpot carryover. A total of $1,142,890 in new money was bet into the closing day pool.

The post Next Beats Royal Prince, Helium To Wire In War Chant At Churchill Downs appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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