My new Kentucky home: Ed Vaughan opens US account with winner at Churchill Downs

Horse Racing Ed Vaughan trainer
Ed Vaughan: saddled Alnaseem to win allowance contest at Churchill Downs

By Jon Lees

USA: Ed Vaughan is off the mark in the US after sending out his first winner eight months after bringing an end to his training career in Britain.

The ex-Newmarket trainer recorded his breakthrough victory on Sunday with his fifth runner when the mare Alnaseem won an allowance optional claimer on turf at Churchill Downs under former British-based jockey Adam Beschizza. The five-year-old, who won three times in Britain, scored by 3¾ lengths as 13-10 favourite.

“It’s great,” said Vaughan. “You always feel relieved but you have been doing it long enough to know you go through quiet times and good times. The wheel goes round but it’s great to get the first one out of the way.

“She was a bit slowly away the last time from an outside draw. That probably put her right so the combination of learning how to race US-style and coming forward from her debut helped. We have a few now ready to run in the next few weeks.”

Vaughan announced last summer he was leaving Newmarket after 16 years, declaring that rising costs and declining prize-money were making a training business increasingly unviable.

Alnaseem secured a first prize of $36,288 (about £26,500) and has total earnings of $40,378 from two starts since she moved to the US; she won $30,845 (£21,765) from 14 starts in Britain. “It’s why I came over here,” said Vaughan, who has set up at Keeneland with a string of 12.

“I think she probably won more in one run, and it’s not even a stakes race, than what she did in Britain. I’ve no regrets. It’s a nice place to live around here. I am very happy I made the choice.”

Beschizza took a similar gamble to Vaughan when he quit Britain in 2017 to try his luck on the other side of the Atlantic. “Adam was my stable jockey just before he left,” said Vaughan.

“He had a 27% strike-rate for me and his last ride for me was his first and only stakes winner in England, which was Hikmaa in the Radley Stakes.”

Beschizza, who also rode a G3 winner over the weekend, hasn’t looked back and Alnaseem was his 76th winner of 2021 for prize-money of $3.1 million.

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