Three Virginia-bred Stakes Winners on Saturday

3-year-old Virginia-bred Noble Moon won the Grade II Jerome Stakes by 2 lengths on Saturday, leading the pack of three Virginia-bred stakes winners on the day.

The son of Malibu Moon, bred by Ned Evans, was a $200,000 pinhook from the 2011 dispersal and ultimately joined Jeff Treadway’s racing stable for the same ticket as a September yearling. Trained by Leah Gyarmati, the bay colt broke his maiden at Belmont in September of this year, before running third in the Grade II Nashua to Cairo Prince.

Despite a bumpy start – he brushed with third-placed Scotland leaving the gate – Noble Moon took command by the end of the backstretch and was never headed subsequently, despite determined salvos from Scotland and second-placed Classic Giacnroll. The final time for the mile contest was 1:45.08.

Ned Evans-bred Noble Moon dominated the Grade II Jerome on January 4. Photo Courtesy Adam Conglianese.

Ned Evans-bred Noble Moon dominated the Grade II Jerome on January 4. Photo Courtesy Adam Conglianese.

3-year-old Just Call Kenny also dominated in his third start on Saturday, winning the Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream by 2 ¼ lengths. Bred by Robin Richards, the son of Jump Start was the Grand Champion of the 2012 Virginia Yearling Futurity, giving Richards a good head-start on the $5,000 leading earner’s bonus.

Virginia-bred Just Call Kenny, 2012 Yearling Futurity Grand Champion, with breeder Robin Richards.

Virginia-bred Just Call Kenny, 2012 Yearling Futurity Grand Champion, with breeder Robin Richards.

Just Call Kenny, now owned by ABL Stable, D. Bossone, J. Cahill, P. Donnely and Phantom House Farm, sold for $35,000 at Fasig-Tipton Midatlantic and is now trained by Patrick McBurney. The dark bay colt made his debut at Monmouth in August, breaking his maiden by 3 lengths. He returned in an allowance at Laurel, running second to long-shot Joint Custody. Breaking from the rail here, Just Call Kenny took up position in the posterior under Joe Bravo. Unhurried through the opening stages, Just Call Kenny made a move in the stretch and took command at the eighth pole to score in the 6-furlong contest.

Just Call Kenny captures the Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream Park. Photo Courtesy Lauren King.

Just Call Kenny captures the Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream Park. Photo Courtesy Lauren King.

Just Call Kenny is out of the Green Dancer mare Green Jeans, who unfortunately suffered a violent dystocia in 2013. Richards is unsure if she will carry another foal going forward.

4-year-old Firenze Feeling rounded out the Virginia-bred trifecta on Saturday, winning the Nellie Morse Stakes at Laurel. The lightly-raced daughter of Macho Uno was bred by Audley Farm and was sold to current owners Michael Dubb and the Elkstone Group for $110,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September sale.

Dubb and the Elkstone Group own the filly in partnership with Bethlehem Stables and Virginian David Ross, president of the HBPA.

Firenze Feeling made her debut in November of her 2-year-old year, winning a maiden special weight at Laurel. She returned a month later to run third to multiple Grade I-winner Princess of Sylmar in a salty Aqueduct allowance.

Off for a year, the gray filly returned to win a Laurel allowance in January of 2013, her most recent start before the Nellie Morse. Sent to the gate under Victor Carrasco, Firenze Feeling rated kindly over the 1 1/16-mile course. Despite bobbling her leads in the stretch, the 4-year-old took command at the 3/16ths mark and opened up to a 4 ¾-length lead at the finish.

Rudy Rodriguez trains.

Congratulations to all connections!