10/17/2014 12:09PM

Favorites go down on Future Champions Day


All the Grade 1 favorites fizzled on Future Champions Day at Newmarket, with Ivawood’s second-place finish in the Middle Park Stakes the top showing from any of the best-fancied 2-year-olds in action Friday.

Ivawood, an odds-on favorite, dropped a close photo to 22-1 outsider Charming Thought in the Middle Park. Favored Estidkhaar made little impression in the Dewhurst Stakes, checking in fourth as Belardo scored an impressive victory, and in the Fillies Mile, race favorite Lucida checked in fifth as Together Forever won by a half-length.

Soft course conditions might have contributed to the relative chaos, as even Ivawood, decent in defeat, failed to run to the sharp form that had propelled him to three good wins at the outset of his career. Friday, in the card’s first Group 1, he could only stay on steadily and not quite strongly enough to see off Charming Thought, who rallied on the outside under William Buick and won by a nose.

Charming Thought, a Godolphin colt trained by Charlie Appleby, was making his group stakes debut after winning minor races at Lingfield and Leicester in his two most recent starts.

While Ivawood at least gave a respectable accounting, his stablemate Estidhkaar showed little for trainer Richard Hannon Jr. and owner Shadwell Stables in the one-mile Dewhurst. Belardo, on the other hand, showed quite a bit.

Trapped behind horse while near the rail with about a quarter-mile to run, he found a seam under Andrea Azteni and hit with strong acceleration, especially accounting for the testing conditions, and burst clear to win the Dewhurst by two lengths over Kodi Bear, with Smuggler’s Cove third. The wet ground, and perhaps the longer mile trip, might have aided Belardo, whom Estidkhaar had comfortably handled in the Champagne Stakes over good ground last month at Doncaster. Roger Varian trains Belardo for Prince Faisal. Belardo, a son of Lope de Vega, won his first group stakes.

In the Fillies Mile, Together Forever stepped up in class for the Coolmore team and trainer Aidan O’Brien, beating Agnes Stewart by a half-length as Lucida trudged home fifth for Godolphin and trainer Jim Bolger. Together Forever had won her last two starts by wide margins, but was making her first start in group stakes competition.

Racing midpack under Joseph O’Brien, she bid for the lead a quarter-mile out, took command with about a furlong left to run, and held off the late challenge from Agnes Stewart, who nosed out Winters Moon for second. Forever Together, a daughter of Galileo, won for the third time in six starts.