Rathmor Stud Update: Liam’s Map Takes Gr1 Breeders Cup Dirt Mile


Liam's Map, who shares a sire with Noble Tune, wins the Gr1 Breeders Cup Dirt Mile.
Liam’s Map, who shares a sire with Noble Tune, wins the Gr1 Breeders Cup Dirt Mile.

Great news for Rathmor Stud has come in this morning as the grey colt Liam’s Map wins the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile in record time, sharing a sire with Noble Tune, that of the great grey Unbridled’s Song. Noble Tune is the first son of Unbridled’s Song to stand in South Africa and his first foals are arriving this season.

The connections of Liam’s Map may have had a few “What ifs?” in their heads after opting to run in the $1 million Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Gr1) rather than the $5 million Classic (Gr1), as the 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song rallied from fourth for what turned out to be an easy 2 1/2-length victory on 30 October at Keeneland.

A beautiful big Noble Tune colt at Rathmor Stud, out of maiden Dynasty mare Summer To Remember. Image: Candiese Marnewick
A beautiful big Noble Tune colt at Rathmor Stud, out of maiden Dynasty mare Summer To Remember. Image: Candiese Marnewick

Pinched a bit at the start the speedy Liam’s Map, who entered off a gate-to-wire victory in the Woodward Stakes (Gr1), raced an uncharacteristic fourth early in the Dirt Mile as Bradester set the pace through a quarter-mile in :23.10 and raced close to Mr. Z who led through a half-mile in :46.73.

Liam’s Map and jockey Javier Castellano were boxed inside early but did appear to be comfortable throughout.

In the far turn, Gr1 winner Lea moved first for jockey Jose Lezcano and opened a clear lead into the stretch as Liam’s Map was moved into the clear. Liam’s Map surged past Lea before mid-stretch on his way to the clear victory, his second straight Gr1 score. Liam’s Map completed the mile test in 1:34.54, as one might expect a track record on the relatively new track and rarely run Keeneland distance.

The race will be the final career effort for Teresa Viola Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Liam’s Map, who will stand at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky in 2016. Before the race Lane’s End announced it had bought into the colt. Viola said she wasn’t that nervous despite the change in running style as she thought Liam’s Map was capable of rallying.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who secured his eighth Breeders’ Cup win, was not as confident.

“I was very concerned. The one thing Javier talked about is that he’s a horse with a lot of speed, but he’s not always quick away from there on the first step. We were hoping he’d get a clean break, but he didn’t and was behind horses,” Pletcher said. “I was very concerned at that point.”

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Noble Tune at Rathmor Stud, first son of Unbridled’s Song to stand in South Africa and a half brother to Honor Code. Image: Candiese Marnewick

Prior to the Woodward, Liam’s Map also led early in the Whitney Stakes (Gr1) before being edged by Honor Code at the wire. Honor Code will go in the Classic Saturday. Pletcher liked how Liam’s Map handled the early challenges.

“What was so impressive is that he recovered a couple times. He got steadied about the five-eighths pole and didn’t have anywhere to go,” Pletcher said. “But every time Javier had to tap on the brakes a little bit, you could see Liam’s Map jump back into the bridle. I kept hoping. I kind of lost him at the five-sixteenths pole, but when I saw him turning for home I could see he had some momentum.”

Liam’s Map was followed home by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Lea and Jon and Sarah Kelly and Don and Joan Cimpi’s Red Vine.

Castellano, now a five-time Breeders’ Cup winner, said he had planned to go to the lead early.

“Unfortunately he didn’t break sharply,” Castellano said. “In this game you have to a Plan B. I think the key was patience. He showed a lot of patience.

He waited behind horses and it was phenomenal. He showed great skill. He can run on the pace or off the pace. I had to fight a little to put him behind horses, but when he was in the clear, he exploded.”

Noble Tune’s dual Gr1 winning half-brother Honor Code will feature in the big race, the Breeders Cup Classic where he will take on US Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah.

Noble Tune himself is a Gr2 and Gr3 winner, and finished second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf (Gr1), also ridden by Castellano. His first impressive foals are on the ground this year, and the son of Unbridled’s Song has attracted a top (and full) book of mares from country wide.

A great grandson of the great Serena’s Song, Noble Tune is certainly an asset to breeding in South Africa and we look forward to bright future from the young handsome stallion at Rathmor Stud.

Liam’s Map winning the Gr1 Breeders Cup Dirt Mile:

extract bloodhorse.com


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