Double Crown gives trainer Cash first graded win

Trainer Norman “Lynn” Cash is still relishing his first graded stakes triumph with Double Crown in Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso, who ran down heavy favorite Baby Yoda in deep stretch to spring a 42-1 upset as the longest shot in the field.

Double Crown was claimed by Cash for $40,000 in June following a narrow runner-up effort at Churchill Downs. He arrived at the Kelso off a fourth-place finish one week earlier in the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic at Laurel Park.

“It’s amazing. Seven days earlier, we ran fourth in the Maryland Million,” Cash said. “It was just a hair too long for him also. We thought the one-turn mile would be a good spot for him. I would rather put them in good spots and travel than stay and have mediocre or poor spots. I had a five-horse field [on Saturday] and I was hoping to just catch the board. But that horse, he just kept coming.”

Cash plans on pointing his newly crowned graded-stakes winner towards the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile on December 3 at Aqueduct, but said he also could spin the horse back in two weeks for the $135,000 Artie Schiller going a two-turn mile over the turf.

“We’ll come back for the Cigar Mile. We won’t be the favorite again, and I’m sure there will be some big boys coming for that race. But anything can happen,” Cash said. “There’s a turf mile in two weeks and we might look at that. That would give us two weeks there and three weeks to the Cigar Mile, which I think would time perfectly.”

Double Crown, a 5-year-old Maryland-bred son of Bourbon Courage, earned an 89 Beyer Speed Figure for his Kelso score. A two-time stakes winner as a 3-year-old for his previous trainer Kathy Ritvo, he was a respective third and second in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park and Grade 3 Chick Lang at Pimlico Race Course.

Cash was a nose away from doubling up on graded stakes scores Saturday with another Maryland-bred, Eastern Bay, who finished second in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler, coming up a nose shy of the resilient Runninsonofagun. 

Double Crown
Double Crown scored a shocker in the Grade 2 Kelso. Photo by NYRA.

Eastern Bay, a 9-year-old son of E Dubai, was previously second to Elite Power in the Grade 2 Vosburgh on October 8 at Belmont at the Big A. He was one of three Bold Ruler aspirants trained by Cash, who also had Steinbeck [sixth] and Jalen Journey [seventh] in the six-furlong test for 3-year-olds and upward.

“That horse is an amazing horse. He’s a 9-year-old and just a hard knocker,” Cash said of Eastern Bay. “He’s always there and always coming. Just a nice, deep closer. I had Steinbeck in that race, too and 300 yards up the stretch I thought he might’ve been a winner. He’s younger and just coming on, but he ran a big race, too. Eastern Bay though, he’s always there.”

Cash said a return to Aqueduct is likely in the cards for Eastern Bay, who could target the Grade 3, $175,000 Fall Highweight going six furlongs on November 26.

“He’s run twice in two monster races up there and ran second. We’ll be there,” Cash said. “I was actually the favorite in the Fall Highweight last year with Sir Alfred James and he did not like Aqueduct. But Eastern Bay, in all likeliness, will be up there for the Fall Highweight.”