Breeders' Cup International Scouting Report: Go Athletico

December 31st, 2020

Gelded as a yearling, Go Athletico was thus ineligible for the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1), or else he would have been a prime player. Instead he had to watch as a colt he’d beaten twice, Sealiway, dominated the Arc Day event.

Now he’ll try to gain compensation in the more egalitarian Breeders’ Cup.

Go Athletico is a son of promising first-crop sire Goken, an early juvenile himself and useful sprinter. Trainer Philippe Decouz also conditioned Go Athletico’s dam, Byburg. By the Johannesburg stallion Sageburg, Byburg was a four-time winner between seven furlongs and a mile. Her family has produced successful imports to the U.S. like Keep Quiet, Little Treasure, and Rhythm of Light, all Grade 2 winners.

A Decouz friends-and-family homebred, Go Athletico has never finished worse than second in five starts. He began in a newcomers’ race at left-handed Lyon-Parilly, where he went straight to the early lead but couldn’t hold off Wootton Asset. That was a better introduction than forecast for the 11-1 chance.

Go Athletico was now ready to move forward in a conditions race at the same track. This time drafting just off the pace, the 13-10 favorite rolled to a convincing tally, and earned a trip to Paris to try listed company.

The provincial shipper was the 14-1 longest shot on the board in the Prix Roland de Chambure, but you’d never know it by his runner-up effort. After shadowing the leader, Go Athletico quickened to take command and nearly pulled off the upset. The classy filly King’s Harlequin managed to nab him in the shadow of the post, with favored Sealiway a mildly closing third. Wootton Asset was only fourth, indicating how much Go Athletico had progressed since their mutual debut. (Wootton Asset is now stateside, missing narrowly in the Laurel Futurity in his premiere for Graham Motion).

Go Athletico got a rematch with Sealiway in the course-and-distance Prix la Rochette (G3), and he confirmed the form. Although Sealiway was now positioned in front of him, Go Athletico’s sharper turn of foot was decisive.

With his gelding’s options limited, Decouz decided to shorten up to six furlongs in the Oct. 10 Criterium de Maisons- Laffitte (G2). Go Athletico had a task to try to catch the speedy filly Plainchant, the even-money favorite who had just run off with the Prix Eclipse (G3). He was admirably game in coming up a little short, while pulling seven lengths clear of the rest, on heavy going.

As a neat, handy type, Go Athletico should be well suited to Keeneland’s two-turn mile. The question is how well his French form stacks up here, but Go Athletico has dark horse appeal.