WinStar Farm’s homebred Brethren remained unbeaten in three starts and did so in scintillating fashion, drawing off to an easy four-length victory in the $207,500 Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) to establish himself as a very real contender on the Triple Crown trail Feb. 12 at Tampa Bay Downs.
A half brother to last year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Super Saver , Brethren sparkled in his 3-year-old debut, making a huge move approaching the final turn while easily passing pacesetter Ribo Bobo. The son of Distorted Humor opened up a commanding 4 1/2-length advantage at the eighth pole and was eased home by Ramon Dominguez, who swept all three stakes on the afternoon.
The final time on the fast dirt was 1:45.07. Too Experience rallied under Daniel Centeno to get second at 31-1, one length in front of 30-1 Watch Me Go.
Brethren is trained by Todd Pletcher, who teamed up with WinStar to win their fourth Sam Davis since 2006.
Sent off at 9-10 in a field of 10 sophomores, Brethren was a bit reluctant to load and broke a step slow from post 10. But Dominguez did a nice job of hustling the bay colt over and went into the first turn in a perfect spot, just outside of pacesetter Ribo Bobo, who took the field through splits of :23.75 and :48.20.
With little asking, Brethren swept past the pacesetter just before the six-furlong marker (1:13.16) and when he hit the quarter pole had already opened up a huge lead.
"He won it like a good horse should," Dominguez said. "We set up and relaxed just off the lead in the first turn and I was able to wait down the backstretch. I asked him in the turn and he came away very nicely. I took a look on both sides in mid-stretch and there was nothing coming so I was able to wrap up on him going to the wire and out. The distance was no problem for him at all."
As a 2-year-old, Brethren won a six-furlong maiden special weight at Belmont Park and scored by 1 3/4 lengths in a one-mile allowance at Churchill Downs. He is out of the A. P. Indy mare Supercharger.
"I was very pleased," WinStar racing manager Elliott Walden said. "The thing I was most pleased about was that he didn’t break well; he broke out, which typically happens on the outside post with a very young horse, and yet, he gathered himself and got into the race very quickly and settled down and got into a really nice rhythm.
"I’m hopeful (that he’ll have no trouble going farther.) I mean, he’s got the pedigree for it. Super Saver did it, and we hope he does, too.”
Walden said it was too early to talk about the next race for Brethren.
Brethren, who banked $120,000 of graded earnings for his win, paid $3.80, $3.20, and $2.80. The exacta (10-4) returned $65.40 and the trifecta (10-4-5) was worth $710.40.
Beamer finished fourth, followed by Monzon, Litigate, Ribo Bobo, Washington's Rules, Adulare, and Reprized Halo.
Earlier on the card, Dominguez guided Augustin Stable’s homebred Dynamic Holiday to a 1 3/4-length victory in the $105,000 Florida Oaks (VIDEO), which was held on the turf for the first time.
Dominguez gave the Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Harlan's Holiday a perfect ride in the 1 1/16-mile race, saving ground until coming off the final turn, where she split a pair of horses, took over from Her Smile in mid-stretch, and sped away for her second stakes victory. The final time on a turf course labeled good was 1:45.56.
Holidaysatthefarm rallied well to get second under Jose Valdivia Jr., while Niji's Grand Girl nipped Her Smile for third in a field of 12 3-year-old fillies.
It was the third win in a row for Dynamic Holiday, who broke her maiden at fourth asking last October on Polytrack at Keeneland and began her sophomore season with a nose victory in the New Year’s Day Tropical Park Oaks at Calder Casino & Race Course.
Graham Motion trains the bay filly, who is out of the Dynaformer mare Dynamic Cat. She has now earned $142,575 from six starts.
The winner paid $8, $4.20, and $3.20. The exacta (6-12) returned $47.80 and the trifecta (6-12-11) was worth $172.20.
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Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire