Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Gary and Mary West’s Code West, runner-up in the Risen Star (Grade 2) this winter, collected the first stakes win of his career with a valiant head triumph over Uncaptured in the $113,100 Matt Winn (G3) June 15 at Churchill Downs.
Code West, ridden by Rosie Napravnik, traveled 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.37 to give Bob Baffert his 100th victory at Churchill Downs and fourth in the Matt Winn. He also won the 3-year-old race with Shot of Gold (1998), Forestry (1999) and Danthebluegrassman (2002).
The Virginia-bred son of Lemon Drop Kid sat just off pacesetter Dewey Square, who set fractions of :24.67, :48.96 and 1:13.57. Code West garnered control at the head of the stretch only to be engaged by Uncaptured, who poked a head in front. The two raced in tandem through deep stretch with a determined Code West narrowly posting the victory while along the inside rail.
Napravnik came away full of praise for her colt. “I had a great trip, but, honestly, when (Uncaptured) came to us I thought he had us. It was all the horse. He picked up and did not want to lose. Not a lot of horses pick up and have that kind of determination down the lane. I was very impressed.”
Code West, bred by the late Edward P. Evans, won for the third time in 10 career starts. He earned $66,616 to push his career earnings to $260,216.
Baffert said he would take Code West back to his southern California base, where he'll prepare for some of the major 3-year-old summer stakes.