Distance, time have made Cordmaker formidable runner
Cordmaker took the Harrison Johnson Memorial Stakes at Laurel Park. Photo by Dottie Milller.
Jockey Victor Carrasco knew Cordmaker was a horse of exceptional quality even before the Curlin gelding made his first start, back in August 2017. But that first race as a two-year-old also confirmed what Carrasco had felt all along, that the longer they raced, the better horse Cordmaker was going to be.
“He started the first time going five furlongs and he was just starting to get untracked in the stretch and wound up third,” Carrasco recalled, “but galloping out after the race he shot past the field and was six or seven in front by the time we got to the turn. I could tell right then he was a horse that was going to be at his best going longer.”
Cordmaker is the slight 6-5 favorite for Saturday’s $75,000 DTHA Governors Day Handicap, with the speedy Flowers for Lisa from the Jorge Navarro barn lined at 8-5. The race will be contested at 1 mile 70 yards on the Delaware Park main track.
Now, approaching the end of his four-year-old year, the Rodney Jenkins-trained Cordmaker is in the prime of life. Since coming back from a six month break last November, Cordmaker has won five of his last 10 starts, three in stakes company. He also came within a half-length of winning the Grade 3 Pimlico Special in a race his rider admits wasn’t his best effort as a reinsman.
Cordmaker’s earnings this year total $239,427 with four wins and the aforementioned third from seven starts. And while he’s won going around one turn, Carrasco says it’s around two turns where Cordmaker is the most comfortable and dangerous.
“He can certainly win going shorter and has done so, but at this stage of his career he’s by far the most comfortable around two turns,” said Carrasco, the 2013 Eclipse Award winner as top apprentice jockey. “He’s got tactical speed if he needs it, but he’s so smart he knows how to settle in a race, take his time then kick it in when needed.”
The rider added, “He’s not a lazy horse by any means, but I’ve learned to give him a little tap passing the three eighths pole just to let him know it’s time to go. And he knows what I’m saying, he’ll pick it up and start to work. That’s what makes it so much fun to ride him because he’s just so smart.”
Cordmaker, out of the Polish Numbers mare Tanca and a half-sibling to stakes winners Corvus and Las Setas, was a $150,000 auction purchase for Ellen Charles’ Hillwood Stable operation at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale in 2016. He’s been in Jenkins’ barn throughout his career.
Saturday’s race shapes up as one without much early speed in it other than Flowers for Lisa, and Carrasco said obviously he can’t let that speedster set too leisurely a pace or wait too long to test him. But he also said that he never gets caught up too much in strategy when he comes out of the jocks’ room to ride Cordmaker.
“He’s so adaptable and talented, there isn’t much he can’t do, so I let the race tell us what has to be done. I go to the front side and watch him work, and he’s been training lights out for this race,” Carrasco said with a chuckle. “Now it’s up to me not to screw things up.”
DELAWARE OWNERS DAY NOTES The Governors Day is the first of six stakes races on the Owners Day card. Post time for the card is 1:15 p.m. and for the Owners Day Handicap is 2:45 p.m…. All six states are part of our free handicapping contest… Cordmaker won his only prior start at Delaware Park, winning an allowance race on August 15, while Flowers for Lisa, a 12-time winner in his career, is 2-for-2 over the strip…
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