Strong favorite Special reserve ran to player expectations on October 8, winning the $ 250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2) on the opening day of the Keeneland Fall meeting and a place in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) next month Del Mar.
Paradise Farms and David Staudacher’s 5-year-old gelding son from Midshipman broke out of the gate as a 3-5 favorite after four wins and two seconds out of six starts this year. His previous three starts, all in stakes, produced Equibase Speed Figures over 110 and included wins in the Maryland Sprint Match Series Stakes (G3) and Iowa Sprint Stakes and a second in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1).
Special Reserve with jockey Joel Rosario broke the worst in the Phoenix, but was quickly overtaken by Longshot Fast pace and rider Sophie Doyle, who conquered the field through the early fractions of: 21.90 and: 44.69. As the leaders rounded the corner in the six-line test, Special Reserve slid forward and began to peel off.
Strong second choice Aloha West but whose odds slumped to 8-5 at the bell, a furious rally started at the top of the track and appeared to cover two lengths for each of the special reserves. The 4 year old son of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners Hard spun finished sixth in the seven horse field to finish a neck behind Special Reserve. He ran his last quarter in: 09/23 compared to: 23.81 for Special Reserve.
“It’s broken really well and it looked like (Doyle on Quick Tempo) showed up right away and he was fine with that,” said Rosario. “He settled down there a bit, nice and quiet, and then when the horse backs away a bit, he was just ready to go.”
Special Reserve manager Mike Maker said he was concerned when Aloha West started closing.
“I thought ‘wire, wire’. He didn’t have another horse to keep his attention so I was a little scared he would run over,” Maker said. The coach added that he believes Special Reserve belongs in the Breeders’ Cup sprint.
“I think so. I have great faith in the horse,” he said.
Jose Ortiz, the rider on Aloha West, said he hoped the colt could get into the sprint.
“If they get him to the Breeders’ Cup he has a good chance of winning the race. When we got to quarter pole I thought he (could win),” said Ortiz. “The winner is a beautiful horse. He ran a good race, we were second best.”
Coach Wayne Catalano hinted that Aloha West would join Del Mar.
“He ran well. He ran hard,” said the coach.
Special Reserve was bred in Kentucky in the name of Russell L. Reineman Stables out of the unplaced Hard Spun mare Love Spun, who is the half sister of the class 1 placed, class 3 winner Original spin (Distorted humor ) and mark the 3rd placed winner Finally humor (Distorted humor). Love Spun was sold as a foal to Midshipman by Nardelli Sales at the 2019 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale to Mapleton Thoroughbred Farm for $ 6,500.
Mapleton Thoroughbred Farm has a year old full brother of Special Reserve and a deposed half brother of Cowtown cat standing on the Ohio farm. Love Spun was bred back with Cowtown Cat this year.