Independence Hall Back on Top in Fayette

Independence Hall Back on Top in Fayette

By: Thoroughbred Daily News

Independence Hall (Constitution) capped a highly productive 20 minutes or so for his sire Saturday afternoon, splashing home a decisive winner of Keeneland’s GII Hagyard Fayette S. shortly after fellow WinStar Farm co-owned colt Americanrevolution dominated his elders by nearly a dozen in Belmont’s Empire Classic H. A dominant winner of both the GIII Nashua S. as a late season juvenile and the Jerome S. as newly turned sophomore last New Year’s Day, Independence Hall was eventually transferred from Mike Trombetta to Michael McCarthy ahead of an optional claiming sprint win last November at Santa Anita. He could only manage fifth in the GI Malibu S. Dec. 26, but earned a career-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure when third to Knicks Go (Paynter) in the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. in January. Fourth in the Mar. 6 GI Santa Anita H. and third in the Apr. 17 GII Californian S., he was fifth in the GI TVG Pacific Classic S. Aug. 21 and most recently proved second best to divisional leader Knicks Go in Churchill’s GIII Lukas Classic S. Oct. 2.

Saturday, Keeneland
HAGYARD FAYETTE S.-GII, $200,000, Keeneland, 10-30, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:50.30, sy.
1–INDEPENDENCE HALL, 121, c, 4, by Constitution
                1st Dam: Kalahari Cat, by Cape Town
                2nd Dam: Desert Stormette, by Storm Cat
                3rd Dam: Breezy Stories, by Damascus
($100,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $200,000 RNA 2yo ’19 FTFMAR).
O-Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing Stables,
LLC, WinStar Farm, LLC, Kathleen & Robert Verratti;
B-Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Michael W. McCarthy;
J-Javier Castellano. $120,000. Lifetime Record: GISP, 13-5-2-2,
$874,000. *1/2 to Francois (Smarty Jones), SW & GSP,
$381,485; Black Onyx (Rock Hard Ten), GSW, $418,860; and
Quality Council (Elusive Quality), GSP, $248,743. Werk Nick
Rating: C. Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Code of Honor, 121, h, 5, Noble Mission (GB)–Reunited, by
Dixie Union. ($70,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O/B-W. S. Farish
(KY); T-Claude R. McGaughey III. $40,000.
3–King Fury, 120, c, 3, Curlin–Taris, by Flatter. ($950,000 Ylg ’19
FTSAUG). O-Fern Circle Stables & Three Chimneys Farm, LLC;
B-Heider Family Stables, LLC (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek.
Margins: 7 1/4, 1, 2 3/4. Odds: 3.50, 2.30, 1.80.
Also Ran: Night Ops, Militarist, Manhattan Up, Major Fed, Fort Peck. Scratched: Sleepy Eyes Todd. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigreeVIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

Hard ridden from the blocks by Javier Castellano to seize the early advantage, Independence Hall clicked off splits of :24.24 :48.38 with Code of Honor applying token pressure. That pair traveled on even terms to the top of the stretch, and Code of Honor briefly looking like he was going better of the two, but Independence Hall found plenty more in the tank and widened at will at the head of the lane to run up the score.

“Everything changed today from the way I handicapped the race [before Sleepy Eyes Todd {Paddy O’Prado} was scratched],” Castellano said. “I didn’t see too much speed in the race. I made the adjustment myself [thinking] if you can put him in a good position, a forward position, he can carry himself all the way around the track. I think the key today was breaking good out of the gate.

“I didn’t see much speed, so [I wanted to] dictate the pace and go wire to wire. I had to encourage him a little bit [nearing the wire], but the more you ask him, the more he gives you. He’s a really nice horse. The slop helped a lot, too; he loved it, he splashed along and he carried himself. I’m very grateful, very thankful to be here and to be on him. I really appreciate the opportunity.”

Independence Hall is now a perfect three-for-three over tracks rated less than fast, but this was his first outing over a sloppy surface. His victory was the 100th stakes win for co-owner Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.

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