Gary Barber’s Jack Milton
, a Keeneland sales graduate, swept past
pace-setting Redwood Kitten midstretch and then held off a furious late
charge from Up With the Birds
to win the 25th
running of the
Transylvania Stakes (G3) for three-year-olds by a neck before a crowd of
22,921 on the opening day of Keeneland’s 16-day spring meet.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Jack Milton
covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:41.80. A
Kentucky-bred son of War Front out of the Forty Niner mare Preserver,
Jack Milton improved his record to 3-2-1-0 and added $60,000 to his
bankroll to hike his career earnings to $93,900.
Redwood Kitten led the field of 10 through fractions of :23.41,
:47.43 and 1:11.98 while under mild pressure from Star Contender as
Velazquez had Jack Milton racing in the second flight of runners just a
couple of lengths off the pace.
Approaching the far turn, Jack Milton made a three-wide move and
struck the front as the field hit midstretch. Up With the Birds got
clear running on the far outside in the stretch but never could catch
Jack Milton returned mutuels of $7.20, $4.40 and $3.40. Up With the
Birds, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, returned $5.20 and $3.80 and finished
two lengths ahead of Redwood Kitten, ridden by Julien Leparoux, who
returned $4.80 to show.
It was another 1½ lengths back to Brown Almighty, who was followed in
order by Amen Kitten, Bambazonki, Star Contender, Fire Guard, Holiday
Star and Bethel.