10/08/2016 3:59PM

Mongolian Saturday makes himself at home in Woodford

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Mongolian Saturday, with Carlos Montalvo up, paid $10.80 to win the Woodford Stakes.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Mongolian Saturday is based at Arlington Park in Chicago, and has traveled the globe the last 12 months, but clearly he feels most at home on the Keeneland lawn.  

"He loves Keeneland," trainer Enebish Ganbat said. "Lexington is his hometown. He was born here."

Mongolian Saturday confirmed his affinity for Keeneland by winning the Grade 3, $150,000 Woodford Stakes on Saturday, his first win since taking the 2015 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on the same course. This victory propels him back into contention for this year’s wide-open Turf Sprint at Santa Anita. He has rebounded from four unplaced efforts in Group 1 events overseas, and from physical issues that included a bout of shipping sickness in March and an ulcer in July.

Mongolian Saturday ($10.80), sent away as the tepid favorite, broke sharply from post 12 in the field of 13. Carlos Montalvo adroitly angled the gelding over to save ground, sitting in third on the outside of Bucchero and Shogood through a sharp opening quarter of 21.75. The three were on fairly even terms turning for home, with Big Rock revving up just behind them, but Mongolian Saturday quickly struck the lead and scooted clear.

He then held off the furiously closing veteran Hogy by a half-length. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Front Pocket Money and Almasty in a dead heat for third.

The final time for the 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf was 1:03.46.

The millionaire Mongolian Saturday, by Any Given Saturday, has now won 8 of 36 career starts. Ganbat said his stable star will ship to Santa Anita about two weeks in advance of the Nov. 5 Turf Sprint.

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