Northern Afleet's 4-year-old son Denman's Call turned in the best race of his career on Saturday at Santa Anita Park with a one-length victory in the $400,000 Triple Bend S. (G1) over Masochistic.
Denman's Call is the 13th lifetime Grade 1 winner for his sire and his second one of 2017. Northern Afleet now has 74 lifetime black type winners and earners of more than $68 million.
Breaking from the rail, Denman's Call found a good spot a couple lengths off of Masochistic, who sped through a quarter-mile in :22.94 and the half in :45.22. Just before entering the stretch, Denman's Call slipped up inside of Masochistic to battle for the lead.
The duo battled together until the sixteenth pole, when Denman's Call began to pull clear. The final time of 1:20.94 for the seven furlongs was the third-fastest in the past 20 runnings of the race.
“It was a beautiful trip,” said jockey Tyler Baze. “I talked to Doug (trainer Doug O'Neill) before the race and we were saying that we hoped (Conquest Cobra) would go with Masochistic a little bit and give him just a little company the first part of the race. I really believe in this horse. Last time I was on him, he was so unfortunate to lose his hind end leaving the gate.
“I was very fortunate to get back on this horse, and I really believe in him. He’s something special. He just went where I pointed him today. There wasn’t a whole lot of room down there on the rail, but that was my only option at the time. When I said ‘let’s go,’ he went. That length off the rail was really there the whole race. It started getting tighter and tighter, and I said ‘If I don’t go now, I might be stuck in a bad situation.’ I pulled the trigger, and he answered.”
Owned by Gilman Racing, Westside Rentals.com and W. C. Racing Inc., Denman's Call is now 2-1-3 in eight starts and has earned $338,640. His dam Maggie McGowan is a sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Evening Jewel, who is also by Northern Afleet.
When asked, O'Neill said he didn't have an immediate plan for his newest Grade 1 winner.
“For him, I don’t know. We were just talking about what an unbelievable opportunity and a dream it would be to have him for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) down at Del Mar this year. That’ll probably be a dream goal. We’ll talk to the owners and put our heads together but we’re going to enjoy the heck out of this.”