The six furlong race started off uneventfully, with Magna Light and jockey Jose Ortiz quickly establishing command at the front of the pack with He’s Comin In Hot, Percolator to his outside and John Q Public in fourth.
Magna Light opened up a length, getting the first quarter in :22.52 and the half in :45.98. Coming to the top of the stretch, Magna Light continued to lead the way, while Percolator dueled with a tiring He’s Comin In Hot. Uncle Vinny and his jockey John Velazquez were farther back making his move from the outside and Awesome Slew gained ground on the inside.
Magna Light continued to lead in deep stretch with just a furlong to go and it appeared that the colt would win by open lengths. Meanwhile, Uncle Vinny was flying on the outside, gaining with every stride and ranged up on the outside of Percolator. Under an aggressive drive with Ortiz flailing away on the colt’s left side, Magna Light ducked out, crossing the paths of Percolator, He’s Comin In Hot, and Uncle Vinny. Ortiz got the colt straightened out, but not before things got a little tight as Percolator and He’s Comin In Hot had to steady briefly.
Magna Light continued on the lead and flashed under the wire, a diminishing ¾ length in front. Uncle Vinny was up in time to grab second, a half length in front of Percolator with Awesome Slew another half length back in fourth. The final time for the six furlongs was 1:10.92. Paynes Prairie was scratched.
Uncle Vinny, sent to the post at odds of 4-1, paid $10.00 to win. Perculator (19-1) paid $17.60 to place, while the DQ’ed Magna Light (13-1) offered $8.60 for show. The $2 exacta paid $185.60, the $2 trifecta paid $1,548 and the $2 superfecta paid $18,173.
Kendrick Carmouche, the jockey of Percolator lodged an objection against Jose Ortiz, the rider of Magna Light for interference in the stretch. The stewards also lit the inquiry sign. After a lengthy investigations, the stewards disqualified the 13-1 Magna Light to third place, and declared Uncle Vinny the winner, with Percolator moving into second place.
Jose Ortiz noted, “My horse was much the best. I hit him left-handed and he ducked out a little bit, but I was clear. Everybody could see that I was clear."
UNCLE VINNY (Uncle Mo - Arealhotlover, by Untuttable) was bred by Gilbert G. Campbell and sold for $175,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sales to Starlight Stables. Todd Pletcher conditions Uncle Vinny. With the Sanford Victory, Pletcher now owns six Sanford Stakes trophies.
Uncle Vinny is the first blacktype winner for his freshman sire Uncle Mo, who was the 2010 Champion Two Year Old Colt. Uncle Vinny won his debut, but finished sixth as the favorite in the Tremont Stakes. He’s a is a half brother to the stakes placed filly Legal Laura and their dam is a stakes winning sprinter.
Don Lucarelli, Starlight Partners co-owner of winner Uncle Vinny remarked on his victory, "I really, really do feel bad for (trainer) Rudy Rodriguez, Michael Dubb and all his connections because they really did run a winning race. It's unfortunate to have to win them this way. We ran huge, too, but [Magna Light], today, was a better horse. Bottom line is, we get to cash a ticket. It is what it is."
Starlight Stables’ blue and yellow silks were worn by 2012 undefeated 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby, who was also trained by Todd Pletcher. The Saratoga Special on August 16 and/or the Hopeful Stakes on closing day could be the next start for Uncle Vinny.