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Tamarkuz

Tamarkuz

Shadwell Stable’s Tamarkuz proved two things in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup: He was no substitute and his connections’ belief in him was justified.

Often considered the second fiddle in the older horse ranks of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin's barn, the son of Speightstown was brushed off by many as a substitute for the stable’s top charge Frosted when said 4-year-old colt was pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic in lieu of the Dirt Mile. Despite speed figures that rivaled virtually any horse in the field and the Breeders’ Cup’s top jockey Mike Smith in the irons, the $325,000 Keeneland September 2011 Yearling Sale purchase was dismissed at nearly 12-1 in the nine-horse field, but won like he was 1-2.

Sweeping past a trio of rivals in the final three-eighths of a mile — including 3-5 favorite Dortmund and Kentucky Derby-placed Gun Runner — Tamarkuz dominated his foes by 3 1/2 lengths at the wire, winning in a time of 1:35.72, while paying a healthy $25.80. Adding to his ascendancy, he did so despite being fractious in the gate, breaking a step slowly and having to swing five-wide at the head of the lane.

The victory rewarded the faith of Shadwell, who brought the medium-sized chestnut over to America from Dubai with hopes that the form that saw him vanquish his foes during the 2014-2015 Meydan meet would translate stateside. Though it took nearly a year and a half and seven starts against some of the nation’s top sprinters and milers, the commanding winner of the 2015 Godolphin Mile finally showed the spark that made him a phenom in the Middle East, ending his career with panache while the world watched.

McLaughlin, as always, was his affable self.

“Now all the media knows why Frosted is in the Classic,” he said, laughing. “We knew we had a horse who would win the Dirt Mile. We knew he had potential.”

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