By Duane Fonseca
Proxy helped Godolphin to a second-straight Grade 1 Clark Stakes victory after a stunning final furlong in which he flew down the Churchill Downs finish Friday evening.
The 4yo Tapit colt, trained by Dubai World Cup winning trainer Michael Stidham, was running for the first time since finishing third in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes here in July. But there was absolutely no rustiness in his performance under Joel Rosario as he stayed on well under pressure and made a successful bid overpowering the highly-favoured West Will Power to win by three fourths of a length with Fulsome a further two and a half lengths back in third.
And Stidham is relishing the prospect of bringing him to Dubai as he said: “I’d love to get back to the Dubai World Cup, but going into 2023 there's a lot still on the table after a win like today.”
It was Rosario’s second Clark Stakes success in four years. He said: “This was his first start in a few months, so he was a little sharper leaving the gate. 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. He was very tough on the lead and I had to work pretty hard to get by him.”
It was Godolphin’s second consecutive Clark Stakes victory after Brendan Walsh’s Maxfield took out the 2021 race. And Stidham praised Rosario’s ride, praising his familiarity with West Will Power.
Stidham added: “I think Joel (Rosario) knew from riding (West Will Power) last time in the Fayette that he would show early speed again.
“When he broke as sharp as he did, he didn't take position away from him. I was confident he'd have enough left in the stretch by his pedigree.”