Warrior’s Club Thrills Racing Club Members With 23-1 Commonwealth Victory

The 200-plus members of the Churchill Downs Racing Club got a big thrill on Saturday when 23-1 longshot Warrior’s Club ground out a victory in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland. The 4-year-old son of Warrior’s Reward defeated 8-5 favorite Limousine Liberal by a neck, completing seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:22.61. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Luis Contreras, Warrior’s Club is now a graded stakes winner and earner of over $500,000.

“The name describes him about as well as anything – he’s a warrior, I tell you,” Lukas said. “He’s just a wonderful little horse to train. I always kid people that a used car salesman could train him; he’s not hard to train at all. He gives you every effort, every time. And to make 200 people (ownership group Churchill Downs Racing Club) happy is really special.”

Warrior’s Club broke sharply and was never more than two lengths off the front-running Westwood, tracking the leader from the rail in third. Conquest Windycity kept the pressure on Westwood through fractions of :22.40 and :45.15, while Warrior’s Club raced in tandem with Crewman. Behavioral Bias got through at the rail approaching the far turn, wrestling for position on the inside.

Bearing down on Westwood, Warrior’s Club was just a length behind the leader at the quarter pole. Awesome Saturday was ranging up on the outside, and Limousine Liberal was drawing alongside Warrior’s Club.

Westwood dropped back and Warrior’s Club inherited the lead near the sixteenth pole. When challenged by Limousine Liberal, Warrior’s Club fought back gamely to hit the wire a neck in front. Limousine Liberal held second over Awesome Saturday, and Behavioral Bias finished fourth.

Bred in Kentucky by John O’Meara, Warrior’s Club was a $25,000 purchase at the Keeneland September yearling sale. The colt required five starts to break his maiden, but has been quite consistent ever since, compiling a record of 5-4-4 from 22 starts for earnings of $518,000.

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