Lost in a day enveloped with a sextet of stakes last Saturday was a breakout performance in the second race from first-time starter Yockey’s Warrior. After settling nicely behind the pace in the six-furlong maiden special weight event, the Al Stall, Jr. trainee galloped with authority down the stretch to score by 6 ¾ lengths in a hand ride over a field that included Stonestreet Farm’s highly regarded 8-5 morning line favorite Harvey. Guided by journeyman Francisco Torres, the son of Warrior’s Reward was sent off at 3-1 and won despite a reluctance to load and being bumped soundly at the start.
Owned by Stewart Madison and Steve Landry, Yockey’s Warrior won Saturday’s race with a final time of 1:10.33, while closing his last quarter in :24.59 – earning him a lofty 97 Beyer Speed Figure. Said rating is the highest of any sophomore in 2015 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and equals the best of his generation this meet, tying Cinco Charlie’s mark set in the $50,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes on Dec. 20. Such an exciting debut would have many connections chomping at the proverbial bit to move into stakes company this time of year – especially with a colt bred to go two turns – but such is not the case with the patient Stall.
“We’ll look for an allowance around one turn with him,” Stall said. “He came out good. Everything seems okay with him. There’s a race opening weekend at Keeneland we’ll look at. I bought him myself. I looked at quite a few Warrior’s Rewards and I was very surprised at how athletic they were as a group, so I tracked all of them out of the sale and found him. He had great balance and his walk was unbelievable, so I had to have him.”
Yockey’s Warrior sold for $140,000 at Keeneland’s September Sale in 2013. He is a half-brother to stakes-placed turf runner Beatnik (by Kitten’s Joy) and track record-setting speedball Silence (by Quiet American). His second dam is Group I winner Silver Fling (by The Minstrel), one of the best turf sprinters of her generation in Europe.
STREET SPICE RETURNS TO TAB
The late Jim Tafel’s homebred Street Spice has returned to the worktab just three weeks after being vanned off following a rousing victory in an allowance event on Feb. 1. Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. dismounted the son of Street Sense about a quarter mile after the 5-year-old gelding had crossed the wire first by a neck in the 1 1/16-miles event, suspecting that something may be amiss. Luckily the Kentucky-bred was okay after being examined by Louisiana State University veterinarians and returned to the worktab on Saturday. Trained by Greg Geier, Street Spice went an easy half-mile in :50.60 and is going to be eased into a summer campaign.
MIZZ MONEY AND DIVINE DAWN LIKELY TO RENEW RIVALRY IN LACOMBE
The gray sophomore filly duo of L. T. B. Inc. and Hillerich Racing’s Mizz Money and Tommy Ligon and Michael Pressley’s Divine Dawn are likely to renew their rivalry after a tough battle in a Feb. 8 allowance in the $60,000 Allen Lacombe Memorial over 7½ grassy furlongs on Mar. 7.
An intriguing Lacombe probable is Raul Bahena’s Happy to Go, who exits a second in the $50,000 OBS Sprint Stakes at Ocala Training Center on Jan. 27. A stakes winner and three times stakes-placed, the daughter of Saint Anddan will be attempting the grass and two turns for the first time after six consecutive synthetic sprints to commence her career. Trained by Armando De La Cerda, the Pennsylvania-bred has the pedigree to suggest she can be a major player in this spot, as she has already proven her class in stakes company.
Source: Fair Grounds Barn Notes