Here’s a recap of recent Virginia-bred wins since the big Commonwealth Stakes Day at Laurel September 24th and of course, Stellar Wind’s victory over Beholder in the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita.
A trio of recent Virginia-bred winners — Bird Call, What a Wildcat and Alabama Slim — all saw their 2016 bankrolls approach or surpass the $30,000 level.
Bird Call, a 4 year old Birdstone gelding who didn’t race as a 2 or 3 year old, scored a ten length, gate to wire blowout victory in his six furlong claimer at Penn National. Bred by the Lazy Lane Farms, the victor crossed in 1:10.77 and earned his second win of the year from 7 starts. Out of the Secret Hello mare, Silent Greeting, Bird Call now has earned $29,290 this year for owner, the Lawrence Stable, Inc.
What a Wildcat didn’t have it as easy, but the 9 year old Wildcat Heir gelding prevailed at Presque Isle in his 60th career start. Outrun early in the 11 horse field, the Larry Johnson bred and owned veteran split rivals in the turn of the 6 1/2 furlong claimer and surged late to win by 1 1/2 lengths. The winner was 8th at the half and crossed in 1:17.17. In 11 starts this year, he has 3 wins and $31,675 in earnings.
Alabama Slim collected his 7th “top three” finish of the year and boosted his earnings to $29,255 by connecting in a claiming race at Churchill Downs. The 4 year old son of Flatter was claimed out of the race for $8,000 by Randy Patterson. The winner, bred by the William Backer Revocable Trust, stayed within striking distance through the half before jockey Robby Albarado directed him three wide in the turn. Out of the Lion Hearted mare, Brief Encounter, Alabama Slim has collected a 1st, 2nd or 3rd in 2016 at five different tracks: Gulfstream, Indiana Grand, Churchill, Keeneland and Ellis Park.
Virginia-bred River Date made it 2-for-3 this year October 2nd at Belmont when the 4 year old Pioneerof the Nile gelding eeked out a tight inside victory over Do Share in a $34,000 claiming race. The victor took the lead halfway through the seven furlong race and held off a late challenge. Out of the Proud Citizen mare, How Bout Tonight, River Date boosted his ’16 earnings to $46,900. He was claimed out of the race though by Five Racing Thoroughbreds.
Town Leader continued to roll by scoring her 4th win and 10th “in the money” finish of 2016 the day prior in a filly/mare claiming race at Charles Town. The 5 year old daughter of Proud Citizen was dominant in a gate-to-wire performance that saw her carry a 10 length lead halfway through the 1 1/16th miles race. She crossed the wire in 1:49.00, nearly five lengths in front of the runner-up. Town Leader was bred by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone and is owned by Michael Miller, Out of the Theatrical mare, Theme, the winner has earned $40,037 this year from 11 starts. of a $10,000 purse. Start Winning is out of the Runaway Groom mare, Ritual Dance.
All horses noted above that won their race in the Mid-Atlantic region, will collect a 25% owners bonus on top of their purse earnings as part of the VTA/HBPA owners bonus initiative that began July 1st.