Abaan stepped into graded stakes company for the first time in Saturday’s $200,000 W. L. McKnight S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park and came away with a two-length victory in the turf marathon to cap a stellar weekend for Will Take Charge that also included a pair of maiden special weight winners and Southwest S. (G3) third-place finishers Ben Diesel.
Abaan has found his spot on the turf since switching to that surface last summer. He broke his maiden by 7 ½-furlongs at Saratoga, won a November allowance at Aqueduct, and most recently took the two-mile Allen Jerkens by 4 ½-lengths, also over the Gulfstream turf. on Christmas Eve.
Abaan, in post 10 for the 1 ½-mile affair, came away well to sit second to the outside of early leader King Cause. The top pair held their positions through almost a mile, when Abaan made his move entering the last of three turns. King Cause offered little resistance and Abaan spurted clear three lengths in upper stretch. He easily held off Temple to win under a hand ride in 2:29.53 on the firm turf.
“We anticipated that he wouldn’t be on the lead today, and we felt like he could be effective without having it,” said winning conditioner Todd Pletcher. “It was nice to see him prove that. He went to the far turn and he was pretty authoritative when he took the lead and spread the race open right there. It looked like he finished with good energy.”
Pletcher indicated that Abaan has options in Saudia Arabia and Dubai for his next start, or the choice of staying in Florida.
Five-year-old Abaan is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Parnters and Alex Daigneault. Saturday’s win upped his record to a very good 4-4-0 in 10 starts, with earnings of $344,870. Abaan was bred in Kentucky by Rosilyn Polan.
Pedigree notes from the TDN
Abaan is the third graded winner and one of eight black-type scorers for his sire Will Take Charge. His stakes-placed dam Anchorage was responsible for last year’s $1.7-million Keeneland September yearling sale topper. This is the family of MGSW sire Broken Vow.