Casa Creed gets up in final strides to win Elusive Quality

With Junior Alvarado sidelined for at least a week due to a concussion, trainer Bill Mott is going to have to find other jockeys to ride his horses in some important races upcoming at Churchill Downs.

He can only hope those jockeys give those horses as good a ride as Joe Bravo gave Casa Creed for Mott in Saturday’s $100,000 Elusive Quality Stakes at Belmont Park.

After saving ground on Casa Creed for the first half-mile of the seven-furlong turf stakes, Bravo was able to get Casa Creed into the clear in upper stretch. Once free, Casa Creed kicked home hard and got up in the final jumps to win the Elusive Quality by a head over Front Run the Fed. It was a nose back to Value Proposition as the Chad Brown-trained runners finished second and third. It was only another neck back to longshot Tell Your Daddy in fourth.

Olympic Runner was fifth followed by Therapist, Proven Strategies, and Seismic Wave.

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The victory was the fourth from 19 starts for Casa Creed, a 5-year-old son of Jimmy Creed owned by Lee Einsidler and radio personality Mike Francesa, the latter who races under the banner JEH Racing.

It was the third stakes win for Casa Creed, who had not won since taking the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes in August 2019. He was 0 for 7 since, but had raced in four Grade 1 stakes in that span.

Those races were all at a mile. Mott cut him back to seven furlongs for the first time in the Elusive Quality, named after a horse Mott trained.

Mott was probably hoping for a fast pace on the turnback and then let Casa Creed sit back and come running.

The fast pace did not develop, as Proven Strategies set fractions of 24.05 seconds and 48.02 for the half-mile with some token pressure from Tell Your Daddy.

Bravo had Casa Creed on the inside in sixth, only about four lengths off the pace.

Around the turn, Bravo was able to gradually work his way off the inside and into the five path. In upper stretch, Proven Strategies and Tell Your Daddy were about to be overtaken by Front Run the Fed and Value Proposition, the latter looking for room between horses.

But it was Bravo who had the most horse and passed all four in the final sixteenth to gain the win.

“He had a good trip, he was stuck down inside, which was perfect,” Mott said from Kentucky, where he watched the race via simulcast. “He saved the ground, he had to wait and tip out, the horse gave him a huge kick when he finally got him loose.”

Casa Creed covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.65 and returned $7.60 as the second choice.

“The horse just sat behind horses and the last eighth of a mile was beautiful,” Bravo told New York Racing Association publicity. “I know he wasn’t in front at the eighth pole, but he was a winner the whole way.”

Options for Casa Creed include cutting back to six furlongs in a race such as the Grade 1 Jaipur on June 5 or pointing to the Grade 3, $250,000 Poker at a mile on June 26.