Bridgetown grinds out victory


Bridgetown earned his first graded stakes win since 2009 and put together back-to-back victories when he ground out a one-length advantage in the $150,000 Woodford Stakes Oct. 6 at Keeneland.

The 5-year-old son of Speightstown came off an Aug. 15 win in the Troy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course to cover 5 1/2 furlongs on the firm turf in 1:02.55 under jockey Javier Castellano for Eugene Melnyk's Melnyk Racing Stables and trainer Todd Pletcher. Great Mills was second and Chamberlain Bridge finished a half-length farther back in third.

The 3-5 favorite in a six-horse field, Bridgetown broke well and settled into a railside stalking position third behind dueling leaders Great Mills and Ginplay. Great Mills went the first quarter mile in :21.67 and the half in :44.53 while Ginplay, off slow from the one hole at the start, dashed up to challenge through three-quarters in :56.29..

Castellano kept Bridgetown covered up until the quarter pole, then found running room in the two path and set sail in pursuit as Great Mills turned for home wth a narrow advantage. The eventual winner slowly cut into the frontrunner's lead with every stride coming down the stretch, and passed his rival with about a furlong to go.

Bridgetown returned $3.40, $2.20, and $2.10 while Great Mills paid $3.60 and $2.60. Chamberlain Bridge returned $2.20. Wekiva Wachee, Icon Ike, and Ginplay completed the order of finish. Will's Wildcat scratched.

A Florida homebred out of the Tabasco Cat mare Ellesmere, Bridgeplay increased his earnings to $934,700 from 19 starts, with a 9-5-1 record. He won the Summer Stakes as a 2-year-old in 2009, the same year he finished second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita Park.