A majority interest in the 3-year-old colt Axelrod, a two-time Grade 3 winner who most recently was second in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, has been sold to Phoenix Thoroughbreds by original owner Slam Dunk Racing, which will retain a minority interest in the colt, according to Nick Cosato, who heads the Slam Dunk partnership.
Axelrod won the Indiana Derby and Smarty Jones, both Grade 3 races, prior to the Pennsylvania Derby. He also was second in the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes in June. He is based at Santa Anita with trainer Michael McCarthy.
According to Cosato, "Michael gets to keep the horse."
"It's in Michael's best interests and the horse's best interests," Cosato said of the sale.
Axelrod "will run in Phoenix's colors," said Cosato, who would not disclose the purchase price.
Going forward, the horse will be managed by Phoenix, which has top-class runners in both Europe and the United States, including Dream Tree, the unbeaten 3-year-old filly who is a top candidate for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, and Belmont Stakes runner-up Gronkowski.
McCarthy said recently that Axelrod has been under consideration for several races, including the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs.
Axelrod, by Warrior's Reward, has won four times in 10 starts and has earned $732,925. He was purchased as a yearling by Slam Dunk for $25,000.