War Like Goddess proves best in G3 Robert Dick Memorial

War Like Goddess
War Like Goddess won the Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial. Photo by Allison Janezic.

War Like Goddess is seven now, a three-time Grade 1 winner with a bankroll of more than $2.6 million. Whether she’s as good as ever is a question that time will answer.

What was answered today, though, was this: she’s still awfully good, plenty good enough to handle her rivals in even a stacked version of the Grade 3, $250,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial.

Under jockey Junior Alvarado, War Like Goddess, off at even money, bided her time behind a dawdling pace in the grassy, 11-furlong contest. Rounding the turn, Alvarado kicked her into gear, and she swooped up while wide on the course to reach contention before wearing down Chop Chop to win by a length, with Vergara another three parts of a length farther back.

Running time for 1 ⅜ miles on a firm course was 2:16.60.

“If she was giving us any signs that she was not wanting to race anymore at the highest level, we would have [retired her],” said War Like Goddess’ owner, George Krikorian. “But she wasn’t.”

War Like Goddess was third despite some traffic trouble in the Grade 1 New York June 7, and that came at a distance likely too short for her. The elongated distance of the Dick suited her just fine, on the other hand. After the field had dawdled through six furlongs in 1:17.40, they whipped home in less than a minute for the final five furlongs. War Like Goddess made up nearly five lengths into that quick come-home time.

At the head of the lane, it seemed War Like Goddess might win for fun. But it turned out to be a tougher tussle than that.

“You can say she idled off of that, but, you know, they’re not going to close into that as if they went and 49 and 113,” pointed out winning trainer Bill Mott.

Chop Chop, with Flavien Prat up for trainer Brad Cox, ran a game race to be second, pressing the early pace, moving to the lead approaching the stretch, and staying on willingly to the end. Vergara, with Jorge Ruiz in the irons for Graham Motion, was a good third.

The Dick seemed a somewhat surprising spot for War Like Goddess. Similar options at her home base of Saratoga include the early August Grade 2 Glens Falls, a race she’s won each of the last two years, and the late August Grade 2 Flower Bowl, in which she ran second two years ago.

“Who knows? I might run in both,” Mott joked about the Dick and Glens Falls. “It’s 25 days away, right? Or I might wait for the Flower Bowl. You know, just looking at 11 furlongs, we got good circumstances and decided just to run  and get her back going. She’s only run once this year. She ran well, but it’s always nice to get in the winner’s circle.”

War Like Goddess was offered for sale as a weanling and brought a top bid of $1,200. She was offered again as a yearling and did not sell. Finally, as a two-year-old, she was purchased for $30,000.

With today’s win, the English Channel mare now has 12 wins and nearly $2.8 million from 20 career starts.

Ideally, Mott and Krikorian said, War Like Goddess might follow a similar path to previous years, a race at Saratoga leading to the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Aqueduct, a race she’s won twice, and then to the Breeders’ Cup. She has run against the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Turf each of the last two years, but this year’s Filly and Mare Turf is 1 ⅜ miles, a distance that – obviously – suits.

“As long as she’s doing well and breezing well and doing things, you know, the way she has been and what we’re used to seeing, then we’ll keep her going for a while,” Mott said. “I mean, I’m sure we’re not going to go beyond this year, but you know, if we can see it through the end of the year, that’d be great.”

“She’s given us a lot of pleasure,” added Krikorian.