04/08/2017 4:15PM

Holding Gold by a neck in Shakertown upset


LEXINGTON, Ky. – It is difficult enough to make one visit to the Keeneland turf course for the track’s trophy presentations after winning a stakes race, let alone to do it twice in an afternoon. On Saturday at Keeneland, owner Charlotte Weber of  Live Oak Plantation, trainer Mark Casse, and jockey Joel Rosario not only did so but managed it back to back, taking the Grade 2, $200,000 Shakertown with Holding Gold about a half-hour after Awesome Slew won the Grade 3 Commonwealth for them.

Like Awesome Slew, Holding Gold did his running from off the pace, though he was able to save ground, in contrast to his wide-running stablemate in the Commonwealth. He was rated in the sixth on the inside under Rosario after breaking from the rail and never encountered any traffic while able to split horses in the stretch.

With the leaders fading after setting quick fractions in the Shakertown, a 5 1/2-furlong turf race, Green Mask surged to the lead in midstretch before Holding Gold ran him down in the closing yards to post a neck victory. The winner, a son of Lonhro, covered the distance in 1:02.29, less than a second off the stakes and course record of 1:01.53. An 18-1 outsider, he paid $38.20.

Casse credited Weber for her patience in giving Holding Gold a break over the winter to mature from ages 3 to 4. He said he told her, “If he grows up over the winter, he is gonna be as good as any turf sprinter in North America.”

Time will tell if that proves to be the case, but with a clear trip in the Shakertown, his performance was quite promising, particularly since he had not started since finishing seventh in the Grade 3 Woodford over the Keeneland course in October.

Runner-up Green Mask performed well in defeat, squeezing through along the inside in the stretch, and was simply outquickened in the lane. He finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of the favored Hogy in third, with Partly Mocha, who was off awkwardly, a tough-luck fourth.