Book El Afortunado for Sir Howard Stakes
Considering few colts have impressed as stayers, outside of Richard Azan's MOJITO, who won December's Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes at a mile, Anthony Nunes could be on to a good thing with EL AFORTUNADO in Sunday's Sir Howard Stakes at six furlongs.
Translated as 'The Fortunate' in English, EL AFORTUNADO placed fourth behind VOLATILITY on debut at five furlongs round. A little under three weeks later, EL AFORTUNADO improved nine and a half lengths on runner-up WHIZZ KID.
Breaking sharply with Anthony Thomas at five and a half furlongs, EL AFORTUNADO matched RIDGE LINER for speed, opening up a furlong out to win by almost eight lengths. Experienced WHIZZ KID, who had finished two and three-quarter lengths ahead of EL AFORTUNADO on January 2, placed third, eight and three quarter lengths behind the improved runner.
EL AFORTUNADO's main challenge should be from stablemate CURLIN'S NOON, who responded with a win when switched from consecutive races over the straight course for his first two starts. The Perfect Curlin-Noon It Is colt outbattled MO AVIATOR on the lead and stayed on strongly to deny late-charging ROARING THUNDER at six and a half furlongs.
RIDGE LINER, who easily won his second start, blitzing rivals with speed at five furlongs straight, returns for the rematch but should again have his stamina limitations exposed in a tougher field.
EL AFORTUNADO's eye-catching victory on his second outing, putting away return winners RIDGE LINER and WHIZZ KID in workmanlike fashion, makes him a horse to follow with the classics looming large.