Virginia-Breds Enjoy a Prosperous Saturday

Saturday was a big day for Virginia-bred horses as four got to the winners circle, all at different tracks. Rose Brier, bred by William Backer, captured the $75,000 Henry Clark Stakes at Laurel while All Call, bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm, won a starter optional claimer at Hawthorne. Lockport, bred by the Hart Farm, was victorious in a claiming race at Parx and Virginia Rose, bred by David Ross, prevailed in a fillies and mares claimer at Penn National. To top it off, Highland Sky — bred by Virginian Bonner Young — won the $100,000 Woodhaven Stakes Saturday at Aqueduct too. All in all, a pretty good day!

Rose Brier is a 7 year old Mizzen Mast gelding that has now won three straight. The streak began last September with the Bert Allen Stakes at Laurel and continued with a starter optional claiming triumph in March at Gulfstream. On Saturday, the Jane Cibelli trainee went gate to wire in the one mile turf test in 1:33.11, finishing 1 1/4 lengths better than Golden Sabre. Rose Brier never led by more than one length though at any station until the stretch. Out of the El Gran Senor mare, Mexicali Rose, the victor earned his 12th lifetime win and now has $376,726 in earnings.

All Call continues to thrive on diversity as each of his four wins dating back to last September have come at different tracks. The 5 year old Cowboy Cal gelding settled along the rail early in Saturday’s one mile starter optional claimer at Hawthorne, split horses at the 3/16ths pole and drew off. He led by two at the top of the stretch and won by five lengths in 1:35.38. All Call, who is 2 of 4 this year, has recent wins at Gulfstream (February 15), Tampa Bay Downs (December 26) and Arlington (September 10). Out of the Honor Grades mare, Honorett, the winner now has a bankroll of $130,339.

Saturday’s other pair of victors each reached the winner’s circle for the first time in over a year. Lockport connected in a one mile, 70 yard claiming event, his first victory since February, 2015 while Virginia Rose came from way back in a one mile fillies and mares claimer to score for the first time since October, 2014.

Lockport is a 4 year old gelding by Temple City out of Tico Breeze by Carson City. He went off as second favorite in a field of seven, saved ground unhurriedly early, rallied between horses in the final turn and took the lead mid-stretch. Lockport won by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:46.40 and paid $7.00. The start at Parx was his 20th and he now has 9 “in the money” finishes.

Virginia Rose is a 6 year old daughter of City Zip and really had to work to gain her 4 1/2 length triumph. She was last at the quarter and trailed by a dozen lengths in the six horse field, was ten behind at the half then rallied in the final turn. The Scott Lake trainee, out of the Tale of the Cat mare, Sure Can Purr, came on in the final 1/16th and crossed in 1:44.15. She was making her 47th career start and is now about $5,000 shy of the $100,000 mark in purse winnings.

Virginia breeder Bonner Young’s Highland Sky won the $100,000 Woodhaven Stakes for 3 year olds Saturday at Aqueduct. The Sky Mesa colt, who was 6th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, got his first win of the year in last to first fashion. Heading down the backstretch of the 1 1/16th miles turf stakes, Highland Sky came outside from behind in the field of nine, made a move early in the turn and tangled with pacesetter Mighty Mo through the stretch. Young’s sharp sophomore was one half length better at the finish and crossed in 1:43.69. In 5 career starts, Highland Sky has 2 wins, a runner-up finish and purse earnings of $134,500. Barclay Tagg trains for co-owners Joyce Young & Gerald McManis. if all goes well, Highland Sky’s connections are pointing to the Grade I Belmont Derby July 9th.