Talented mare Abaco (5m Giant’s Causeway x Cat Cay, by Pleasant Colony) produced a career best performance to win the Grade III Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
A homebred for the Phipps stable prepared by Shug McGaughey, Abaco had been knocking on the door with a string of recent stakes placings and got the verdict at last in forging clear to win the 1 and 1/8th mile event by a length.
“I was tickled to death with her,” said her trainer.
“She never had won a stakes. She had been second in three. She’s so deserving of winning one and I was really glad. She should have won down in Baltimore [in Laurel’s Lady Baltimore], but today we wanted to make sure she didn’t get in trouble. Rosie rode a big race on her and we’re all really, really pleased.”
Abaco has won five of 18 starts earning in excess of $395,000 and is the best of four winners from Grade II winner Cat Cay, a half-sister to Grade I winner Strolling Along.
Abaco is the 136th stakes-winner for champion sire Giant’s Causeway.