The Hirsch Turf Classic (BC) (Grade 1)- $500.000 Purse
BEL- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Turf
October 9, 2021
Last year according to the record books, there was not another horse in the game that had a better season than Iron Nation. He won the prestigious Horse of the Year distinction in a three year old season that he capped off by winning the BC Mile. Surely, he seemed destined to do great things this year as well but he had been winless in 2021 so far. His last race was a dud, so there were questions about how he would fare here. At odds of 7/1 in the Hirsch Turf Classic, Iron Nation reminded us all of the horse that he was last year, with an impressive two length victory! It will go down as the first time that his trainer, Nakamura Stables, and jockey Ci Murphy won the stake. Congratulations to them! The time of the victory was 2:24.60, one of the better winning times of the race. Let’s take a look!
(½ Mile- :48.41)- Dropping down the hammer out of the gate would be Smokey Stover’s Hammerfest, and he would lead the way down the frontstretch the first time and into the clubhouse turn. He’d have some company there, as Mb Stables- trained Owens was within half a length to his outside. Behind them are three stalkers, and with a slight edge between them, it’s Slo Mo, from Maxmillion Farm. He’s in the third lane, with our eventual winner, Nakamura Stables’ Iron Nation running to his inside. On the rail of this group is Found Peace, for Mb Stables. Next up comes Sensei, and the Saratoga Stud trained entry was an interesting one to watch early as he broke poorly then made a big push along the outside to pass about half the field, and now be sixth at this point. Winter Solstice (John Henry), Supercomplication (Smokey Stover), and Raj Action Packed (Arindel) were the next group of three. Then, we had a gap of about three lengths to Anoush Command (Fractious), Concerto Of Eggs (TwinTowersRacing), and the poor breaking Farquaad (Night Rider Stables).
(¾ Mile- 1:12.33)- We’d have a bit of action at the front in this portion of the race that you might have otherwise expected to be quiet. Slo Mo would not be content with just stalking the pace, and would move up to take the lead for a short lived moment. By the time they got to 3/4ths of a mile, Hammerfest was back out in front by a neck. Owens would not stay involved with them, and retreated to essentially the same stalking position that Slo Mo moved forward from. Found Peace holds his line in fourth while Iron Nation backs off just a little bit, and now runs in the fifth spot, about two and a half lengths from the lead. Sensei would not continue to advance further once getting into the sixth spot. Raj Action Packed began to look for a little bit of room to the inside, and a little further back, Concerto Of Eggs moved forward somewhat. Others near the back were content to hold their positions.
(Top Of Stretch, 1.8F To Go)- Even though the horse’s name we used in the headline, Raj Action Packed was not getting into the heat of the excitement, this race continued to live up to that storyline with a good amount of action even continuing as we finished the backstretch run and moving around the turn. Hammerfest would continue to lead the way down the backstretch, but would lose the lead on exit of the turn. Would it be to Slo Mo? Owens? No, it would be Found Peace taking over the top spot, as he calculated his time to strike and began pushing forward midway through the turn. But one horse was doing just a little better than both of them, and that would be the reigning Horse of The Year, Iron Nation, inching closer to the top two, and now being about a length and a half back. Meanwhile, Slo Mo was a bit odd, as after having his moment of glory of poking a head in front during the backstretch, he seemed to feel that was good enough for the day and really began backing out of it. Maybe he thought it was a five furlong race. The next two horses are two that swung significantly outside during the turn. The first to do so was Winter Solstice, and despite covering the extra race track, it was effective to get by the likes of Owens and Sensei and pull away from Supercomplication. Anoush Command needed to take it one lane further outside, and he showed his powerful kick that he is known quite well for to pass that same group as he began to pull to the outside of Winter Solstice. As all that was going on, Concerto Of Eggs was glad that he maintained his position near the inside, and made a move forward while being much closer to the rail. Raj Action Packed was not getting involved and Farquaad seemed beaten at the break and never recovered.
(Finish- 2:24.60)- At the front, both Hammerfest and Found Peace seemed to be having a good battle with one another, but could not do anything with Iron Nation who gave them both the slip pretty easily while passing by on their outside. He’d begin to pull away from them pretty easily, and at that point there was no one else close to him to make him concerned any longer. Iron Nation, at long last, would be returning to the winners circle! He would go on to win this race by two impressive lengths. Hammerfest would be able to hold on to second, but it would be Anoush Command, who was probably closer to the grandstand than he was to the rail at this point, ending up getting third by a neck over Found Peace. Winter Solstice did all he could, but must settle for fifth and no share of the pure. He beats out Supercomplication by a head. Next is Concerto Of Eggs, who seemed destined to do better in the stretch than he would end up doing. Sensei, Owens, Farquaad, Raj Action Packed and Slo Mo complete the running order.
If you have not watched this race, do so. It was actually one of the more entertaining races I have covered in a while.
About The Winner- Iron Nation, trained by Nakamura Stables, and ridden to victory by Ci Murphy, is a four year old gelding by Telling Ya, and is out of Chanceux. He was bred in California as a yearling by Nakamura Stables, the only trainer for which he has ever known. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his seventh in 20 starts, his sixth stake win, and fourth graded win. His career earnings are now $2,957.000.
Time: :482 1:121 2:002 2:243
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 9 – 4 Paid 294.80
$1 Trifecta: 9 – 4 – 8 Paid 1,554.60
Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES