Pathfork (by Distorted Humor) kept his unblemished record intact with a hard-fought victory over Casamento in the boylesports.com Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (Ire-I) at the Curragh Sept. 11.
The highly-regarded Casamento, who was making just his second career start, broke alertly under Declan McDonogh and went straight to the front. They were followed by High Ruler and Pathfork, as the favorite Zoffany tracked the early leaders from fifth.
Casamento continued to lead but was joined by Pathfork with two furlongs left to run. The colts battled each other every step of the way, with Pathfork gaining a slight advantage with a furlong left. Casamento was not finished though, and fought back under McDonogh to draw even with Pathfork.
Pathfork was finally able to grind out the victory, just getting his head in front of Casamento as they crossed the wire. Zoffany, who never threatened the top pair, had to settle for third, five lengths further back.
The final time for the seven furlongs was 1:27.95 over a course that was labeled as soft due to heavy rains.
The National win was the first group I victory for both jockey Fran Berry and trainer Jessica Harrington. The race, which is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” series, earned Pathfork a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.
Harrington remained non-committal about the colt’s plans after the race, telling reporters, “I’m going to the sales at Keeneland in the morning and I’ll make plans with the owners then.”
Pathfork, who improved his record to three wins from three starts, became the first European group I winner for his sire, Distorted Humor . Out of the Sadler’s Wells’ mare, Visions Of Clarity, Pathfork was bred in Kentucky by Flaxman Holdings. Visions Of Clarity is a three-quarter sister to champion Spinning World, and hails from the immediate family of Aldebaran, Good Journey, Chimes of Freedom, and Denon.
Pathfork was purchased from the consignment of Lane’s End Farm by Silverton Hill for $230,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale.