Unbeaten Shagaf doing well after Gotham win; Lady Eli continues training for comeback

TwinSpires Staff

March 6th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Shadwell Stable's undefeated Gotham (G3) hero Shagaf came out his 1 1/4-length victory in good order, according to trainer Chad Brown at Aqueduct on Sunday afternoon.

"He looks great this morning, he ate up well," Brown reported. "He looks sound, very happy."

Although Shagaf's come-from-behind Gotham score awarded the colt 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, virtually locking down a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May, Brown said the $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) on April 9 is still the next target for the bay son of Bernardini.

"He took plenty of dirt in the race, which will hopefully serve him well down the road," Brown added. "I think he gained a lot of experience, it was only his third start and this horse has done everything we asked him to do.

“I don't think he could've run any better in any of the three races for what we want him to do. I'm very happy with the result and I'm happy with the education he got.

"We've got a ways to go but he's at least cleared one hurdle. He's emerged from the race alright and he'll stay here and train. This is his home base, he likes it here."

Stablemate and Jerome (G3) winner Flexibility breezed Sunday morning at Brown's Belmont Park base, covering a half-mile on the fast dirt training track in :48.75. The Bluegrass Cat colt, who skipped the Gotham after finishing fourth in the Withers (G3), could either face Shagaf in the Wood or bypass that contest in favor of the $1 million Blue Grass (G1)at Keeneland, the conditioner said. It depends on how Swale (G2) runner-up Economic Model, who is owned by Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence just like Flexibility, fares in next Saturday's $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2).

"Flexibility went really well," Brown said of the Sunday morning move. "We're giving him a little breather between starts, which we had always planned to do after the Withers.

“A lot of the decision about (his next race) will be made based on how Economic Model runs, because right now, tentatively, Economic Model could end up in the Blue Grass so Flexibility is still a possibility for the Wood as well. All races are still in play."

In non-Triple Crown news from the Brown shedrow, undefeated multiple Grade 1 winner Lady Eli is continuing her progress towards a much-anticipated four-year-old campaign, recording her first official breeze last week.

Brown's star filly returned to training earlier this winter after overcoming laminitis following her impressive victory in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) last July. She went three furlongs in :38.80 on February 29 at Palm Meadows in Florida in her first work since last June.

"She's doing very well," Brown stated. "She's going to have her second breeze (Monday) morning so I'm heading down to Florida tonight. Her first breeze was terrific, just what we wanted, and she came out of it good. She's been training super."

Brown said that the connections are in no rush for her comeback, adding that, "We're just taking it week by week. She's made it so far now, we couldn't be happier."

Multiple Grade/Group 1 victor Flintshire arrived at Brown's Belmont barn from European-based trainer Andre Fabre Saturday following the standard quarantine procedure for international horses.

Now a six-year-old, Flintshire has posted five wins and 10 seconds from 19 starts, with his most high-profile starts coming in back-to-back runner-up efforts in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-G1) in Paris. The British-bred son of Dansili has not raced since finishing second while going for a title defense in the Hong Kong Vase (HK-G1) in December.

"We let him jog a mile under tack today and he looked great," Brown reported. "The horse came from Andre Fabre in outstanding shape. We're so thankful they sent us this horse to begin with and even more thankful he's in such outstanding condition. He's a remarkable looking horse, a picture of health right out of quarantine. We're excited about him."

Like Lady Eli, Brown said, the connections have no plans to rush Flintshire towards his 2016 campaign.

"We're going to take some time to get to know the horse and pick up his training a little bit, then hopefully we'll start to map out a schedule for him."

Shagaf photo courtesy of NYRA/Joe Labozzetta/Adam Coglianese Photography