In Virginia-bred action this past week, Black Prong and Blushing Justine won their first lifetime race, Unpredictable and West End Gambler scored claiming wins, and Greyvitos captured a graded stakes event at Del Mar.
Black Prong, who did not race as a 2 year old, reached the winners’ circle for the first time in five starts. The 3 year old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding went five deep in the turn from fourth in his one mile event, then came home strong to win by a neck over Praise The Moon in a thrilling finish.
Jockey Horacio Karamanos directed the winning effort for trainer Reid Nagle and owner Sarah Nagle, who also bred the horse. Black Prong crossed in 1:40.52 and triggered the unusual 15-14 winning exacta combination. Out of the Horse Chestnut mare, Talented Nut, the winner has yet to finish out of the money .
Blushing Justine on the other hand was victorious at Aqueduct in her lifetime bow. The 2 year old Justin Phillip filly, bred by Nellie Mae Cox and the Rose Retreat Farm, won handily by 6 1/4 lengths. She was third at the quarter mark of a $41,000 six furlong race, advanced to within a head of the leader halfway through, then powered to the finish. The winner, out of Fionce by Cuvee, sold for $8,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2016 Eastern Fall Yearling Sale. Owner Matthew Kilstein earned a 25% bonus with the win courtesy of the VTA/HBPA Mid-Atlantic incentive program.
Unpredictable was best in a $22,500 one mile, 70 yard claiming race at Parx and secured his third win in the four starts. The 3 year old Bluegrass Cat gelding raced wide throughout, challenged the leaders in the final turn and eeked out a close win over Winter’s Gift by a neck. Unpredictable was bred by Audley Farm Equine LLC and is out of Ruler’s Charm by Cape Town. He is owned by the Ho Dee Boy Stable who also scored a 25% bonus from the incentive program. Unpredictable, who did not race a two year old, has earned $46,350 this year.
West End Gambler also prevailed for the third time this year, beating 11 other foes in a 5 1/2 furlong sprint November 11th at Mahoning Valley. The 3 year old Spring At Last colt dueled for the lead early on, took control at 3/8ths and held on for a three-quarter length triumph. Bred by the William Backer Revocable Trust, West End Gambler is out of the Empire Maker mare, Summertime Green. He has bankrolled $27,182 and like Unpredictable and Black Prong, did not compete as a freshman. His other 2017 wins were at Belterra Park in a maiden special weight August 11th and in a claimer September 4th.
Greyvitos, a 2 year old Malibu Moon colt bred by Audley Farm Equine, earned his first career win in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes November 11th at Del Mar. Jockey Victor Espinoza piloted the upset winner in gate to wire fashion against five other stake hopefuls. Greyitos, who paid $41.80, is out of Snow Top Mountain by Najran. A comprehensive piece on his win appears at vabred.org.
Finally, Just Call Kenny took third in the Richard Small Stakes last Saturday at Laurel. The race was one of six stakes on the card which paid tribute to fan favorite Ben’s Cat. Bred by Althea Richards, Just Call Kenny continued a solid 2017 in which he has amassed $184,830 in earnings. His career portfolio is just $25,000 shy of the half million dollar mark in earnings.