Rookie pacers contested leg two of the Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) with a pair of $30,000 divisions for each sex on Sunday night at The Red Mile.
Youth was the order of the evening as Tyler Smith (age 24) and Joe Bongiorno (age 23) each scored a double in the stakes action.
Things got underway with ladies first in race four when Pure Paradise scored convincingly for Tyler Smith in 1:53.1. Landing in third early from the rail, Smith moved Pure Platinum uncovered on early leader Newsday around the last turn, wrestled the lead away mid-stretch and drew away late. Newsday held second and Tiffany Rocks AS was third.
Brian Brown trains the winner for owners Michael Robinson, Bob Mondillo, RBH Ventures and Joe Sbrocco who gave $65,000 for the McArdle-Odds On Hemera filly at last year’s Ohio Select Yearling sale.
Key Advisor pulled a mild upset in the first of the colt races by holding off the furious late rally of heavy favourite Grand Teton, handing that rival his first career defeat. It became a driver’s race early when Joe Bongiorno sent Key Advisor right to the front while Brett Miller went shopping for a hole that never materialized with the favourite from his outside post. Bongiorno was able to steal a :57 half with no challenge until the last turn, leaving enough in reserve to sprint home in :26.3, holding a wide Grand Teton at bay. Whos Better was third.
The winner is trained by Tony Alagna for Brittany Farms and Key Advisor Racing who paid $200,000 for the son of Somebeachsomewhere from Credit Rating at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale last fall.
Alagna and Bongiorno came right back to win with Band Stand in a tight photo over Hurrikane Empress in 1:56.1. It was another slow early pace with Aaron Merriman on the brake in rein to Hurrikane Empress through a 1:00.4 half and 1:29.3 three-quarters as Bongiorno positioned Band Stand second-over for the drive. They sprinted home in :26.3 on the timer with Band Stand up by a nose in the final strides. Lets Fall In Love was third.
Brad Grant owns the winner, a $40,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase from the first crop of A Rocknroll Dance out of Als Girl. Band Stand is a half-sister to Grant's Sandbetweenurtoes (1:49.1, $983,372).
The final division had a surprise ending with 23-1 longshot Gone Again winning for Tyler Smith in 1:52.3. Bongiorno took his shot at three straight sending longshot Rush To Judgement from post 10 and made front before the turn. Left alone through easy fractions, Rush To Judgement held the lead into the stretch when Gone Again wore him down through the :28 flat final quarter and drew clear to an easy win. McThirsty was just up on the wire to snap Rush To Judgement for second.
Timothy Lane trains Gone Again, a son of the late Dragon Again out of Campus Flirt for owners Bill Bailosky, Ernie Malas and Michael Crawford who bought the colt for $20,000 at the Ohio Select sale.
Racing resumes on Thursday with the second leg of the KYSS for three-year-olds.
The KYSS Grand Finale with $1.7 million in purses is set for Sunday, Sept. 17.
(With files from The Red Mile)