07/10/2014 4:02PM

Craftsman changes tactics to capture Nick Shuk Memorial


Craftsman had been facing tough company since coming over from Ireland at the tail end of 2013. He also had been vying for the early lead and tiring late. In his first start since the American Turf on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs he dropped in class, took back off the pace, and finished strongly. The future looks bright.

In Delaware’s Park’s $50,000 Nick Shuk Memorial at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf Thursday, Craftsman settled into fourth place early for jockey Alex Cintron and relaxed nicely. He began to advance along the inside on the far turn, was taken outside for the stretch run, collared front-running I’m the Lucky One in midstretch, and pulled away for a comfortable 1 3/4-length victory.

The start was his first for Graham Motion after changing barns following the American Turf.

I’m the Lucky One went right to the lead in the Shuk while being tracked by Thunder Strike and Allstar. I’m the Lucky One clicked off reasonable fractions of 24.06, and 47.79 seconds and was still well clear turning for home. But Craftsman was in a different gear when he reached I’m the Lucky One and he went right on by. I’m the Lucky One held second by a length over Lulu Le’ Mon, who rallied in the stretch but was never a serious factor.

Craftsman paid $5.40 to win in the seven-horse field of 3-year-olds and was timed in 1:30.21.

Craftsman, owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, made his first three starts in stakes company in California for trainer Simon Callaghan, finishing behind Enterprising twice on turf at Santa Anita and Tamarando over synthetic in the Grade 3 El Camino Real. The American Turf was won by Global View.

* Motion came right back to win the Thoroughbred nightcap with 2-year-old first-timer Cleveland Sound., a $300,000 yearling purchase by West Point Thoroughbreds. Cleveland Sound is a half-brother to Citizen Advocate, a three-time stakes winner of $327,000.