Clark Stakes answers questions at Churchill Downs

Nov 27, 2022 at 08:30 am by Danny Brewer

Proxy wins the 148th Clark Stakes (photo by Coady)

    As is the case with most races, the Clark Stakes provided some answers on November 25. Here is a quick look at what we may have learned from the 148th running of this grade 1 event.

  Proxy came away with the first place money and his first graded stakes win after being a courageous also-ran in seven previous stakes runs. Having been no worse than fourth in those races with four seconds, he finally got to the wire first. Battling down the stretch after stalking the pace, this son of Tapit has now set himself up as a real player in the older horse division for those BIG money races that will come early in 2023 (Pegasus, Saudi Cup, Dubai World Cup)

  West Will Power is a runner that has good front-end speed and loves to compete. Having looked impressive in his previous gate-to-wire win at Keeneland in the Hagyard-Fayette, this somewhat unknown runner from the Brad Cox barn has the goods. Finishing ¾ of a length behind Proxy, this five-year-old son of Bernardini ran with real conviction and did not want to let the eventual winner pass. This horse too can be a real player next year.

  Rich Strike was the sentimental choice among many heading into the Clark. His improbable 80-1 upset win in the Kentucky Derby had seen some rock throwers as he had been winless since, so getting another grade 1 could validate him. After finishing last of six in the mile and an eighth, do we dismiss him as The Knack (a one-hit wonder) ? Hardly is the answer we scribbled on the paper. Rich Strike was reported to have a sinus infection discovered post-race and he was only 8 ¾ lengths off the first-place finisher. Richie is a warrior that was the eye of a hurricane on May 7, 2022. He might not be a totally top-shelf bottle of bourbon, but he will always be the winner of Kentucky Derby 148.

   The final and perhaps most important thing we learned has long been known, The iconic Churchill Downs is once again renovating as they continue to try and be the frontrunner for facilities in the greatest sport in the world. Once completed, this showplace for the sport of kings will be even more of a showplace.

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