Colonel John’s top 2-year-old Cocked and Loaded powered to a two-length victory in the $150,000 Iroquois S. (G3) on Saturday at Churchill Downs, setting him up for a start in the Oct. 31 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland.
Cocked and Loaded got out of the gate smoothly and settled into a good spot in third as a pair of eager horses sped through an opening quarter-mile in :22.69. After a half-mile in :46.29, Cocked and Loaded quickly began to close on the front-runners and assumed command with three furlongs to run.
With Rated R Superstar giving chase, Cocked and Loaded was strong in the stretch, never letting his rival within the final margin of two lengths.
The winner clocked the 1 1/16-miles on a fast track in 1:44.94.
"I think he's a real special horse," trainer Larry Rivelli said. "He handles everything with stride. (Jockey) Manny (Esquivel) did a great job. I told him to ride him with confidence and let him do what he needs to do. I'm just really proud of the horse. Hopefully we'll dance the big dance (the Breeders' Cup)."
"At the half-mile pole I got to the ones in front pretty easily and when I just pushed him a little he took off with me," said Esquivel. "And at that point I didn't want to try to take him back again. I just wanted to keep on going. We felt comfortable turning for home, so he ran huge."
The Iroquois is part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In Juvenile Division" Challenge and the win by Cocked and Loaded earned a guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the 1-1/16 mile, $2 million race.
With the win, Cocked and Loaded upped his mark to three victories in five starts, including a win in Belmont Park’s Tremont S. He has earned $250,840 for Richard Ravin and Patricia’s Hope LLC.
Colonel John is the nation’s leading Third-Crop sire of winners (64) and ranks second in progeny earnings with $2.7 million.