(Ottoman Fleet / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team / Darren Rogers & Kevin Kerstein:

OTTOMAN FLEET (GB) WINS AGAIN, TAKES DOWN GRADE II, $500,000 WISE DAN

 

Godolphin’s Ottoman Fleet (GB) from the international powerhouse stable of trainer Charlie Applebywon his second straight stakes over the Churchill Downs turf course when he went straight to the front and turned back a late charge from Chasing the Crown to easily win Saturday’s 35th running of the $465,000 Wise Dan (Grade II) at Churchill Downs by 1 ½ lengths.

WISE DAN QUOTES

Flavien Prat (jockey, Ottoman Fleet, winner): “I really wasn’t expecting the pace scenario to be what it turned out to be. We sort of found ourselves on the lead and just went on with it. He was travelling so nicely that I just let him keep doing it on the front end. Turning for home he still had a lot left in the tank to kick clear at the wire.”

Michael Banahan (director of bloodstock operations for Godolphin, Ottoman Fleet, winner): “He’s just a lovely horse that has done well in Europe and here in North America. He got an easy lead and took what he could get. He galloped all the way to the wire. Being a half-million dollar race the money is nice as well. I’m sure (trainer) Charlie (Appleby) is happy with that performance. It was a nice race for him. I’m not too sure what will be next for him but he’ll join the team at Saratoga this summer and find a spot for him likely there.”

Mike Maker (trainer, Chasing the Crown, runner-up): “The pace certainly didn’t help us today but he ran another solid race. We were just second best again.”

Story: 

          Ridden by Flavien Prat, Ottoman Fleet (GB) completed 1 1/16 miles over the firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:41.26.

          In his previous start four weeks ago, Ottoman Fleet (GB) defeated Chasing the Crown by one length with an authoritative late kick in the $258,750 Arlington Stakes (GIII). This time, he went right to the front from the outset.

          A multiple graded stakes winner in England and the United States, Ottoman Fleet (GB) broke from post 2 and asserted his way to the front when it appeared no others wanted to be on the lead. Ottoman Fleet (GB) set modest fractions of :23.63, :48.05 and 1:11.88 and had plenty of kick left for the stretch drive to the finish.

“I really wasn’t expecting the pace scenario to be what it turned out to be,” Prat said. “We sort of found ourselves on the lead and just went on with it. He was travelling so nicely that I just let him keep doing it on the front end. Turning for home he still had a lot left in the tank to kick clear at the wire.”

          Ottoman Fleet (GB) returned $3.40, $2.36 and $2.10 for his Wise Dan victory as the odds-on 3-5 favorite. Chasing the Crown, who rallied from last under Joel Rosario, paid $3.48 and $2.48. Strong Tide, another 1 ¼ lengths back in third under jockey Emmanuel Esquivel, paid $4.66 to show.

“The pace certainly didn’t help us today but he ran another solid race,” said Chasing the Crown’s trainer Mike Maker. “We were just second best again.”

          This marked the fifth graded stakes triumph for Ottoman Fleet (GB). Last year, he won the Group 3 Earl of Sefton at Newmarket and $200,000 Fort Marcy (GII) at Belmont. In April, he defended his title in the Earl of Sefton but ran second in the Fort Marcy before winning the Arlington.

Ottoman Fleet (GB), a 5-year-old gelded son of Sea the Stars (IRE) out of the Motivator (GB) mare Innevera (FR), was bred in Great Britain by SCEA Marmion Vauville and Alain Jathiere.

          Ottoman Fleet (GB) earned $276,210 for the win, which improved his career earnings to $1,088,717. He sports a record of 7-5-5 in 19 starts.

“He’s just a lovely horse that has done well in Europe and here in North America,” said Michael Banahan, Director of Bloodstock Operations for Godolphin. “He got an easy lead and took what he could get. He galloped all the way to the wire. Being a half-million dollar race the money is nice as well. I’m sure Charlie is happy with that performance. It was a nice race for him. I’m not too sure what will be next for him but he’ll join the team at Saratoga this summer and find a spot for him likely there.”

          Win for the Money, Exaulted and Johny’s Fireball completed the order of finish.