Pair of Virginia Breeders Have A Solid Week

The Morgan’s Ford Farm and Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone, both well known breeders in the Commonwealth, each had a pair of their Virginia-bred horses reach the winners circle this past week. Super Bird and Congrats to Ken, bred by the former, won down south at Gulfstream and Tampa Bay Downs respectively while Special Envoy and Cinco, bred by the latter, scored at Tampa and Charles Town.

Trainer Nick Zito's Super Bird was bred by the Morgan's Ford Farm
Trainer Nick Zito’s Super Bird was bred by the Morgan’s Ford Farm

Super Bird, sent off at 6-1, made a nice rally in his one mile, $18,000 maiden claiming race on March 12th. The 3 year old Birdstone colt   raced unhurriedly early, was 10th at the quarter fraction and 9th at the half. The eventual winner saved ground through the turn, angled out approaching the stretch, got to the front with 1/16th left and won by 1 3/4 lengths over Mr. Coupons in 1:39.78. The Nick Zito trainee, who is out of the Tiznow mare, Thor’s Daughter, earned his first victory in five career starts.

Congrats to Ken won his second lifetime race March 9th in a 1 1/16th miles claimer against nine other foes. The 4 year old son of Congrats raced three wide early, settled off the pace, went three wide in the turn and cleared. Sent off as the heavy betting choice, Congrats to Ken crossed in 1:46.86, won by 5 3/4 lengths and paid $4.40 to his backers. The Keith Nations trainee is out of the Kris S mare, Never a No Hitter. He captured the winner’s share of a $10,500 purse and boosted his career bankroll to $56,809, though he was claimed out of the race by new owner/trainer Charles Harvatt.

Special Envoy, a 5 year old Stroll gelding, continued to perform well at Tampa Bay Downs, his obvious favorite track. The Arnaud Delacour trainee won his fourth race there, to complement a second and third place finish. His only “out of the money” career blemish at Tampa came in last month’s Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes where he finished sixth. His most recent triumph came in a one mile, $26,000 allowance optional claimer on March 11th. Facing a field of seven others, Special Envoy was best in a three horse photo, beating Cement Clement by a neck in 1:35.37. The victor, who returned $4.60, is out of the Cozzene mare, Diplomacy.

Tampa Bay Downs has been friendly to Special Envoy
Tampa Bay Downs has been friendly to Special Envoy

Cinco also won by a neck margin, though the 4 year old daughter of City Zip did it in gate to wire fashion. She battled seven others  throughout the 6 1/2 furlong maiden claiming sprint and was pressured most of the way. After opening up by two at the top of the stretch, Cinco held off the late challenge of American Keepsake and crossed in 1:23.60. The filly, who was making just her third career start, is out of the Thunder Gulch mare, Regal Approach.