Making his debut in Saturday’s third race, Fortify led exiting the chute in the 6 ½-furlong race before yielding the top spot to Boss Man Rocket. Fortify remained off the flank of the pacesetter through an opening quarter mile in 21.73 seconds, regained the top spot with three eighths to travel, led through a half in 44.43, and slipped clear when set down by Joe Bravo en route to a 5 ½-length victory.
“He has trained very well and we were looking for a very good performance out of him, but that was pretty special,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “The fractions were very fast. He was laying second, just off them. He acted up a little bit in the gate – we’ll have to work on that – but we were just happy to see him run so well.”
Fortify, a Darley Stable homebred, is out of Kotuku, a placed daughter of Flagbird, who was awarded highweight honors in England, Ireland, and Italy, with her top win coming in the Group 1 Premio Presidente Della Repubblica in Italy. Flagbird produced three stakes-placed runners, including Dubai Belle, herself the dam of Grade 1 Ashland winner Little Belle. Little Belle, like Kotuku, is by A.P. Indy. Fortify also hails from the family of Grade 1 Ashland and Grade 1 Acorn heroine Prospectors Delite.
The seven-furlong Three Chimneys Hopeful will be contested on Labor Day, September 3.
Other horses previously featured in the New York Watch series include 2010 Champion Two-Year-Old Male Uncle Mo, 2011 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Royal Delta, 2011 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly My Miss Aurelia, and Grade 1 winners Boys At Tosconova, J. B.’s Thunder, Winter Memories, Currency Swap, and To Honor and Serve.