Cowboy Culture strong in $200,000 Centaur Stakes
Early predictions were that Cowboy Culture and Florent Geroux would be the ones to defeat in the $200,000-guaranteed Centaur Stakes at Indiana Grand Wednesday, Sept. 6. Those predictions were spot on as the duo swallowed up the field in late stretch to win by one and one-half lengths over the firm turf course.
Starting from post one, Cowboy Culture was unhurried at the start by Geroux, following along at the tail end of the eight horse field as Balandeen and Eddie Perez set the pace of the one and one-sixteenth mile race. Judah and Leandro Goncalves stayed close for the first half of the race before Dawn Raider and Gabriel Saez moved up into contention to be the biggest threat before the stretch drive.
Balandeen was able to scoot around the turn nicely and gain some momentum for the stretch drive as others began battling for open spaces. Geroux moved Cowboy Culture up through horses and just when it appeared traffic might be an issue, a hole opened up and Cowboy Culture shot through to gain clearance. Once he had a clean shot at the finish line, the Quality Road colt kicked into another gear and swooped by the top ones, winning easily in a time of 1:36.41. Dawn Raider completed the race in second while Balandeen held strong for third.
“He (Cowboy Culture) didn’t want to go early,” said Geroux. “So, I let him stay relaxed, but when he wasn’t taking me where I wanted to be, I asked him for more. We cut the corner and I tipped him out and he moved on very well.”
The heavy favorite of the field, Cowboy Culture paid $3.20, $2.40, $2.10 across the board on a day that had experienced many longshots at Indiana Grand. The Kentucky bred colt has been part of Cox’s operations in Indiana this summer, turning in a bullet work just a few days before his return to the track in the Centaur Stakes.
It was the third win in five starts for Cowboy Culture in 2017, who had not raced since the end of May, easily winning the Grade III Arlington Classic at Arlington Park. The $100,000 Keeneland Yearling Sale purchase now holds in excess of $270,000 in his bankroll for trainer Brad Cox and owners Head of Plains Partners, LLC and Cheyenne Stables LLC. Cowboy Culture is now five for seven lifetime, four of which have been won over turf courses.
“It looked like it took him a little time to get his footing today,” said Ricky Giannini, assistant trainer for Cox. “Once he got tipped out, he ran them down like a good horse, which is typical of a turf horse. Once you show them daylight, they take off. He is a horse that does well with time in between races. He is continuing to mature a lot and we hope we can find another race at least four weeks apart. But we just take it one race at a time. There are a couple of races in Kentucky coming up this fall. We will let him tell us where he wants to go.”