Sunday, August 29, 2010
Crown of Thorns' 2010 debut showed he is still a horse to be reckoned with in the sprint division. In the Spendthrift Farms colorbearer's first race since the 2009 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), which he lost by a nose, Crown of Thorns was a hard-charging second in the $300,000 Pat O'Brien (G1) Aug. 28 at Del Mar.
Trainer Richard Mandella brought the 5-year-old into the Pat O'Brien off a strong series of works at Del Mar. The son of Repent had made one previous start over the local Polytrack, finishing third in an allowance race last summer.
In the Pat O'Brien, Crown of Thorns was sixth of seven for the first half mile and was four wide around the turn. He began to make up ground coming into the lane, but was still third, about four lengths behind front-running El Brujo, just a furlong from the wire. He was really cutting into the leader's margin, but came up a half-length back of the winner while 4 1/4-lengths clear of the third-place horse.
Rafael Bejarano, who rode the runner-up, liked the effort. "My horse gave me a big kick at the end, but nobody ran with the winner, and he never stopped running," Bejarano said afterward.
The final time for the seven furlongs was a quick 1:21.70. His Beyer Speed Figure of 105 is the second best of his career, one point below his Breeders' Cup number.
Crown of Thorns is now 2-3-1 in seven starts, earning $637,080. In 2008, he won the Grade 2 Robert Lewis S. and was second in the Ancient Title S. (G1) the following year. Spendthrift bought Crown of Thorns for $300,000 at the OBS open sale in March, 2007.