Kentucky-bred Proxy ran down pacesetter West Will Power for a thrilling victory in the $750,000 Clark S. (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25. The Godolphin homebred registered the initial stakes win of his career in the Clark, defeating West Will Power by three-quarters of a length.
Ridden by Joel Rosario for trainer Michael Stidham, Proxy tracked the early pace of West Will Power throughout. He collared the pacesetter nearing the sixteenth pole and gradually wore down that rival in the stretch, covering the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:48.89. It was the second straight Clark win for Godolphin, which won last year’s renewal with Kentucky-bred Maxfield.
“This was his first start in a few months, so he was a little sharper leaving the gate,” Rosario said. “He was a little bit further back in his last start here in the Stephen Foster than I expected him to be. I knew (West Will Power) was really the only horse that had early speed in the race, so I didn’t want to let him get away easily. He was very professional today throughout. (West Will Power) didn’t want to give in. I had to work pretty hard to get by him.”
Stidham added, “I was a little shocked he showed as much speed as he did. That could have been because of how fresh he was coming off the layoff. We had this race as a target when we gave him a break following the Stephen Foster. It’s very special for him to get his first graded stakes win as a Grade 1.”
In addition to his Clark score, Proxy finished second in a pair of Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races—the Lecomte S. (G3) and the Risen Star S. (G2) last year. He began his 4-year-old campaign this season with runner-up efforts in the New Orleans Classic (G2) and the Blame S., and he finished third in the Ben Ali S. (G3) and the Stephen Foster (G2).
A son of Tapit out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Include mare Panty Raid, Proxy added the $458,970 winner’s share of the purse to his coffers, raising his career earnings to $971,220. The win also improved his lifetime record to 13-4-5-2.