LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 18, 2018) – Michael Hui’s Zulu Alpha slipped through along the inside rail at the sixteenth pole to get the lead from favored Arklow and went on to a 2-length victory in the 24th running of the $100,000 Sycamore (G3) for 3-year-olds and up before a Thursday afternoon crowd of 10,431.
Trained by John Ortiz and ridden by Channing Hill, Zulu Alpha covered the 1½ miles on a turf course labeled as good in 2:34.21. The victory was the first graded stakes triumph for Ortiz.
Final Copy raced off to an uncontested lead with Zulu Alpha in closest pursuit through early fractions of :26.54 and :52.64. Going into the second turn, Arklow moved up to challenge Final Copy with the latter maintaining a narrow edge until the final turn when Arklow pushed to the front.
Hill, who won his third Keeneland graded stakes, angled off the rail from fourth place at the head of the lane and then ducked back to the inside for clear sailing en route to the victory.
Claimed out of his most recent start last month at Churchill Downs for $80,000, Zulu Alpha is a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelded son of Street Cry (IRE) out of the A.P. Indy mare Zori. The $60,000 winner’s share boosted his earnings to $237,734 with a record of 20-6-3-4. It is his first stakes victory.
Zulu Alpha returned $16.20, $7.40 and $5. Arklow, ridden by Florent Geroux, returned $3.80 and $2.60 and finished 2¼ lengths in front of Bigger Picture, who paid $3.60 to show under Tyler Gaffalione.
Final Copy finished another neck back in fourth and was followed in order by Some in Tieme (BRZ), Harlan Strong (ARG), Can’thelpbelieving (IRE), Oscar Nominated, Nessy, Campaign and Slickly Done.
Racing continues Friday with a 10-race program beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET. The feature is the 28th running of the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The Pin Oak Valley will be the ninth race with a 5:30 p.m. post time.