Awesome of Course's multiple stakes winner Fort Loudon collected his seventh career black-type win in Saturday's $150,000 Gulfstream Sprint Championship (G3). Fort Loudon, 4, has now earned $848,123 in his stellar career, making him the second-highest leading lifetime earner for his sire.
Under jockey Jose Lezcano, Fort Loudon broke quickly but was challenged by one rival or another for the entire seven-furlong test. He tussled with Bahamian Squall for most of the way, and when that one faded slightly in the final furlong, Swagger Jack gave chase, but Fort Loudon battled to a half-length victory in 1:21.84 over the fast track.
Following a victory in the six-furlong Carry Back Stakes (G3) at Calder in early July, Jacks or Better owner Fred Brei sent Fort Loudon to New York with trainer Nick Zito. Fort Loudon ran a big race to finish second in the Kings Bishop S. (G1) at Saratoga for Zito, but Saturday’s victory was his first since the Carry Back.
“We want to thank Fred (Brei) for sending us nice horses,” said Zito. “Stan (Gold, Fort Loudon's trainer during his 2-year-old campaign) deserves a lot of credit for developing him. I told Jose (Lezcano) to do whatever he had to do to keep him out of trouble even if it meant going to the lead, and he did.
“It was a game performance and great to win a race like this. I think it helped that he was coming off a distance race, but I think we’ll probably keep him at seven-eighths to a mile for now. He’ll come back in the mile race now, the $300,000 Gulfstream Park H. (Grade 2, on Mar. 9).”
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