05/20/2017 2:50PM

Yoshida most impressive in James W. Murphy Stakes victory

Debra A. Roma
Yoshida, with Joel Rosario aboard, cruises to a four-length win in the James W. Murphy Stakes.

BALTIMORE – Yoshida went wire to wire last month in a maiden victory over the Keeneland turf and came into his stakes debut Saturday in the $100,000 James W. Murphy at Pimlico as the second wagering choice in a field of 12 3-year-olds.

So, it would have been difficult to predict that Yoshida and jockey Joel Rosario would be trailing for the first four furlongs of the one-mile turf race. In the end, however, there was no problem whatsoever: Yoshida angled out for the stretch drive after saving ground on both turns, then quickly spurted away to an even easier triumph than his four-length margin would suggest.

“I thought I was going to be closer,” said Rosario, perhaps understating the situation. “He was very happy where he was. I just let him do his thing, and then he put in a very nice run at the end. He’s a very nice horse.”

Trained by Bill Mott, Yoshida returned $7.60 after finishing in 1:36.83 over a course rated “good.” Chubby Star was up in the final jump at 18-1 to get second from Mo Maverick, with Caribou Club just another nose back in fourth and Cheyenne’s Colonel another head back in fifth.

“That was very impressive,” said Mott, who trains Yoshida for the partnership of the China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, S F Bloodstock, and Head of Plains Partners. “He rolled home an easy winner, it looks like. He had his ears pricked and doing it the right way.”

Turning for home in the eighth running of the Murphy, now a Preakness Day fixture, Mo Maverick took over for Adonis Creed and had fended off all challengers – save for the ridiculous burst by Yoshida – until Chubby Star somehow emerged from the pack to nab the place. Among the also-rans, Dover Cliffs, the lukewarm favorite, was the biggest disappointment when failing to be a factor in a ninth-place finish.

Yoshida, a bay colt with a striking blaze, was sired by Heart’s Cry and produced by Hilda’s Passion, a Grade 1 winner. He now has won two of three career starts after beginning last fall at Aqueduct with a runner-up finish in a maiden race.

The $2 exacta (6-13) paid $169.60, the $1 trifecta (6-13-1) returned $388.90, and the 10-cent superfecta (6-13-1-3) was worth $428.98.