Churchill Downs Racing Club’s Warrior’s Club gave his 200 members a thrill they’ll cherish forever when the 2-year-old son of Spendthrift stallion Warrior’s Reward took the lead shortly after the break and never looked back in winning the inaugural $300,000 Spendthrift Stallion Stakes Oct. 30 at Churchill Downs.
Managed by Hall of Fame and four-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Warrior’s Club clocked seven furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.31 under jockey Miguel Mena to comfortably beat Cool Arrow by 2 ¾ lengths while collecting the first victory of his brief career.
“I’ve had some great moments in racing before, so it’s exciting for me, but there is nothing like it for those people,” Lukas said of the Churchill Downs Racing Club members that flooded the main track after the race. “I’m so gratified that I could give so many people an enjoyable afternoon and that much happiness, that’s the big thing.”
The new Spendthrift Stallion Stakes – made possible through a partnership between Churchill Downs and Lexington, Ky.-based breeding operation Spendthrift Farm – was exclusively for 2-year-old offspring sired by any active or non-active Spendthrift stallion, including all Spendthrift-owned stallions standing regionally in North America.
Warrior’s Club was purchased privately for $55,000 shortly after the creation of the Churchill Downs Racing Club was announced in late April.
Breaking from post position four and sporting blinkers for the first time Sunday, Warrior’s Club set the pace and led the field of 12 juveniles through an opening quarter mile in :23.10 and :45.90 for the half with Cool Arrow in close pursuit to his outside throughout. Mena dropped his hands on Warrior’s Club at the top of the stretch and the colt responded by shaking clear from his rivals.
“Coach gave me a lot of confidence in the paddock,” Mena said of Lukas. “He said that if we put him in the race and put blinkers on him, he’ll come out of there rocking. Turning for home, I asked him to run and he really just put the other horses away. The horse (Cool Arrow) came on the outside but this horse had plenty of run and fought and kept on going.”
Warrior’s Club (6-1-1-2—$107,696) banked $86,490 for the Churchill Downs Racing Club and $60,000 for his breeder John O’Meara.
Designed to benefit both racehorse owners and breeders, the $300,000 purse was structured with a unique approach to award $150,000 to the owners of the placed horses, with the other $150,000 allocated to award the breeders of the first-through-fourth-place finishers.