Todd A. Pletcher Racing Stables, Inc.

Maraud Prevails in American Turf With Late Move

Maraud made a strong move down the middle of the Churchill Downs turf course rated yielding to capture the $300,000 American Turf Stakes presented by Ram Trucks (G2T) for 3-year-olds under the Twin Spires May 5.

The son of champion Blame  out of the Empire Maker  mare Unbridled Empire won his second graded event after winning the Palm Beach Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park in March. He was fifth in the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes (G3T) in his most recent start before the American Turf.

The bay colt is owned by Treadway Racing Stable and was bred in Kentucky by John and Frank Penn. He is trained by Todd Pletcher and was ridden to victory by John Velazquez.

Speed Franco was fastest into stride from the inside gate but was hounded every step of the way by Inscom from the 2 post. They passed the opening quarter mile in :23.79 and went the first half in :48.39 pursued by Admiralty Pier. There was no change in the order up the backstretch. Favorite River Boyne made a move coming off the second turn as Speed Franco cut the corner and briefly opened up turning for home.

But the scene changed down the lane as Maraud, Untamed Domain, and Captivating Moon stormed down the center of the course, while Arawak was making a big move at the hedge. Arawak ultimately did not get cleanly through on the inside, however, and Maraud prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:47.52 for the 1 1/16 miles. Captivating Moon and Untamed Domain dead-heated for the place spot, with Arawak checking in fourth.

"I didn't think my horse liked the soft turf, so I took him back and made one run with him," said Velazquez. "He showed me something and came through for me."

Maraud returned $18.80, $8.40, and $6.20. Captivating Moon was good for $5.40 and $6.40, while Untamed Domain paid $4.60 and $5.80.

"I thought Johnny (Velazquez) gave him a clever ride," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "We were concerned about the weather today, and I'm glad we decided to take a shot." 

With four wins in seven lifetime starts, all on turf, Maraud nearly doubled his lifetime earnings in the American Turf to $337,770. He has won three of four starts this season.

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