Integration wrapped up his 3-year-old season with an exclamation point and a bundle of excitement for what’s to come in 2024, as he dominated Saturday’s Grade 2 Hill Prince Stakes at Aqueduct to remain unbeaten in three career starts.
The dark bay colt did it with a scintillating turn of foot to assert himself in the stretch and complete the 9 furlongs in 1:47.06, essentially tying the course record of 1:47 flat set by Slew the Dragon in 1985 when times were still recorded in fifths instead of hundredths.
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche told Daily Racing Form that Integration may be the best horse he has ridden in a 23-year career that encompasses more than 3,700 wins.
Kendrick said, “Those horses in front of me were going pretty well. I was sitting on the rail at the beginning, and I angled him out to the three path where they couldn’t keep me in there. This horse did everything on his own. This is a monster.”
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey has been patient–Integration debuted on August 12–and he has pulled the right strings like heading straight to the Grade 3 Virginia Derby second time out, where Integration out-finished Grade 1 winner Program Trading. It has paid off with a perfect season and now a look toward major stakes in 2024.
Those options will include the $1-million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1T) run at nine furlongs on the grass at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 27 at Gulfstream and the $1-million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes (G1) run at nine furlongs on Kentucky Derby Day, Saturday, May 4 at Churchill Downs.
West Point and Woodford Racing acquired Integration at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale.