Saturday, November 25, 2023

Intricate shot between horses in upper stretch and rolled to a 5 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s $400,000 Golden Rod S. (G2) at Churchill Downs.

The 2-year-old Gun Runner filly is the 11th graded stakes winner, and 15 stakes winner overall, in 2023 for her sire. Gun Runner, whose 2024 fee was recently announced at $250,000 S&N, leads the Third-Crop sire list by a wide margin and is third on this year’s General Sire list with $16.3 million in progeny earnings.

Intricate, who was a sharp Oct. 13 maiden special weight winner at Keeneland, found her way to the rail soon after the Golden Rod start. West Sunset set the early pace, opening up a five-length lead after a half-mile. Intricate closed the gap going into the far turn, but then was held up by the pacesetter and a pair of foes on her outside. Turning for home, she found a narrow opening between West Sunset and Dozen Diamonds and seized the lead. The chestnut filly drew away impressively to win going away in 1:45.01 for the 1 1/16-miles on a fast track.

“She’s just been starting to come around and really put things together today,” said winning trainer Brendan Walsh. “We’ve always thought she’s a true two-turn filly. Last year this race worked out well for the development of (Walsh’s 2023 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner) Pretty Mischievous. We’ll see where we end up down the road with her but I’m sure we’ll entertain the Fair Grounds races like we did last year.”

Intricate has won both of her two-turn races and is 2-0-0 in three starts, earning $302,180 for Bradley Thoroughbreds, Laura Leigh Stable, Scott Estes and Cambron Equine, LLC.

Bred by the LBD Stable, LLC, Intricate sold for $280,000 at this year’s OBS Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training.

The Golden Rod is the first race in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks challenge, and the winner picked up 10 points for the 3-year-old filly classic next May 3.