Ashkal Way landed his first victory at the highest level when displaying an impressive turn of foot to win the 400,000 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park yesterday.
Godolphin’s inmate came into the contest on the back of two Grade Two successes and continued his improvement to score in Stakes record time.
Having been settled off the early pace by jockey Garrett Gomez, the four-year-old son of Ashkalani made progress as the field swung for home and quickened smartly to grab control over a furlong from home.
The victory delighted handler Saeed bin Suroor, who told www.godolphin.com: “That was a very good performance in his first Grade One.
“I am very happy with Ashkal Way as he is improving all the time and getting more relaxed in his races. He put up a brilliant performance, showing a very good turn of foot.”
Gomez added: “I was making a little run around the turn and really the only decision I had to make was to duck inside Doug O’Neill’s horse (Whilly) rather than go around.
“This horse, he’s gotten better and better since he’s been here. Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin have done a tremendous job with him.”
Sent off favourite in the extended mile feature was Rob Roy, formerly trained by Michael Stoute.
The Lear Fan colt was making his first appearance for Neil Drysdale since finishing fifth for Stoute in the Breeders’ Cup Mile but never threatened before staying on late to fill the same position in the extended mile feature.