The $30,000 second leg of the Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) for 3-year-olds took place on a perfect Lexington Thursday evening over the venerable Red Mile clay oval.
The glamour boys, a strong field of eleven pacing colts and geldings, were the last of the six stakes to be raced but provided the anticipated fireworks when American History (Andy McCarthy) and Thinkbig Dreambig (Jordan Stratton) waged a homestretch throw-down that went to the wire with American History edging his rival in the final strides of a 1:48.1 mile.
It required hot early fractions of :26.3 and :53.3 for the top two to get things settled up front, with Thinkbig Dreambig the leader at that point. Facing token pressure, the leader got a bit of a breather on the bend with American History hot on his heels, anxiously awaiting the "go" command from his driver. That call came about mid-stretch, and the pair battled valiantly through a :26.4 quarter right until the very end, with the winning margin just a neck. First-leg winner Grand Teton (Jimmy Takter) went a remarkable trip from the second tier to be third.
American History is a Brittany Farms-bred son of American Ideal and was a $150,000 Lexington yearling. He races for the breeder along with partners Marvin Katz and American History Racing, whose principals include trainer Tony Alagna as Alagna Racing, Joe Barbera, Leah Cheverie, In The Gym Partners (John Fodera and Steve Wienick) and Myron and Stephanie Bell’s Riverview Racing.
Trotting colts opened the card with a single division of ten and Tactical Landing was the winner over stablemate and first-leg winner Wolfgang (Stratton) in a new personal best of 1:51.4 for trainer-driver Jimmy Takter. Wolfgang had taken over from Eurobond just past the opening quarter, when Takter rolled up with Tactical Landing and took over at the :55.4 half. After an easy third panel, the winner kicked home in :27.1 to hold Wolfgang at bay by a length. Haveitalltogether (Peter Wrenn) was third.
Tactical Landing is owned by the eponymous Tactical Landing Stable, who famously gave $800,000 for the Muscle Hill brother to the great Mission Brief at the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale (LSYS). Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm and Andrea Lea Racing Stables are the breeders.
Pacing fillies split neatly into a pair of seven-horse divisions, and Dance Blue continued to make her case as the filly to beat in the $250,000 final three weeks hence with a convincing 1:51 win for Andy McCarthy. Taking over from Neverforgetwhour by the :54.4 half, Dance Blue was afforded a second-turn breather by McCarthy and had plenty left for the :28 sprint home. Neverforgetwhour (Elliott Deaton) held up well for second with Pure Paradise (David Miller) third.
Trainers Nancy and Marcus Johansson have their Rock N Roll Heaven filly as fit as a fiddle for owners Marvin Katz, Sam Goldband and Goran Anderberg. She was a $50,000 LSYS buy from breeders Steve Stewart, Cotton and Julie Nash.
Hurrikane Empress (Peter Wrenn) continued the current hot streak in KYSS events for trainer John McDermott Jr. with a career best-equaling 1:52 win in her division. Wrenn sat a good pocket with the Hurrikand Kingcole filly, found room inside mid-stretch to get by the leader, and then lasted over the furious rally of Belle (David Miller) whose late charge fell a mere head short. Sun Shines Bright (Stratton) was third after setting most of the fractions.
The winner is a homebred, racing for the interests of Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing, Pegasis Investment Group and George Vierno.
Bandol Rose upset trotting fillies in the first of two divisions, converting a perfect trip into a 14-1 score over Urban Legend (Marcus Johansson) in a new mark of 1:53.1 for trainer-driver Charlie Norris. Leaving the gate for position behind mile cutter Urban Legend, Bandol Rose and Norris sat licking their collective chops as favorite Pat Matters (Takter) took a hard run at the leader through a :28.1 third panel before going off stride, leaving the winner a clear path to victory. Passionate Miss (Wrenn) closed for third.
Bandol Rose is a Cantab Hall homebred, racing for Ron Ruggles’ MT Pockets Stable of Florida.
Defending KYSS final winner Top Expectation (Stratton) was a gritty 1:53 winner in the second filly trot. Settled mid-pack around turn one, Stratton sent his filly after the lead through a sub-:27 second quarter to take over by the :55.2 half, took immediate pressure from Deschanel (McCarthy), then held off rivals on both sides for the win, a new record for her. Deschanel held her ground for the place and Nixie Volo (Corey Callahan) gained up the inside late to be third.
Erv Miller trains the winner for Daniel Plouffe, who had to go to a bid of $120,000 to buy the Cantab Hall sister to My MVP from breeder Dunroven Stud at the Lexington sale.
The top point earners from all divisions will meet for $2 million worth of finals on Sept. 16 as a part of the Fayette County Fair event at The Red Mile. (KYSS)