Speightstown Colt on a Roll
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
When Todd Beattie scratched morning-line favorite Fabulous Strike out of Sunday's Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap, he noted his respect for the 3-year-old Munnings and his uneasiness about spotting that horse 11 pounds going seven furlongs.

Beattie's fears proved well-founded as Munnings put on another dazzling display, sliding through an opening along the rail turning for home under John Velazquez and charging to a 2 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Tom Fool at Belmont Park. Riley Tucker finished second by 3 1/4 lengths over Driven by Success, who was 15 lengths clear of The Last Wave. Muninngs paid $3.30.

Munnings added the Tom Fool to his eye-catching 5 1/4-length victory in last month's Grade 2 Woody Stephens and should set him up well for next month's Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga.

"He's doing so good now, I wish the King's Bishop was the first week [of August]," said Pletcher, who trains Munnings.

Munnings, a son of champion sprinter Speightstown, became just the fourth 3-year-old in the 35-year history of the Tom Fool to win the race. He joined Plugged Nickle (1980), Groovy (1987) and Trippi (2000). The latter was trained by Pletcher.

Pletcher had mixed emotions about the scratch of Fabulous Strike. On one hand it took a multiple graded stakes winner out of the field. On the other hand, it took a primary speed out of the mix as well, leaving Driven by Success as potentially the main speed.

But Riley Tucker was quicker than Driven by Success and those two dueled through a quarter of 22.10 seconds and a half-mile in 44.47 seconds. Munnings was a stalking third, always within two lengths of the lead.

Turning into the stretch, Riley Tucker drifted off the rail, and Velazquez shot Munnings through the opening on the inside. He then drew clear under a vigorous hand ride for the victory. Munnings' final time of 1:21.08 was the fourth fastest Tom Fool behind the Pletcher-trained Left Bank (a track record 1:20.17 in 2002), Ghostzapper (1:20.42 in 2004), and Banker's Gold (1:21.04 in 1998). Munnings is owned by Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.

"Any time a horse that's won 13 races comes out it's good, but this horse is so good right now I think he'd make anybody run for their money going seven-eighths or maybe even further," said Pletcher. "He's just in great form right now, he's put it all together now. He's always shown us that kind of ability, but it's nice that he's developed into a professional horse."

While Munnings points to the King's Bishop, Beattie said that Fabulous Strike will point to the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 9.
$300,000 colt tops exceptional Saturday at Keeneland for Fed Biz title=
Fed Biz

$300,000 colt tops exceptional Saturday at Keeneland for Fed Biz

Fed Biz had his top-priced yearling at auction this year on Saturday at Keeneland when a colt by the WinStar stallion went for $300,000...

[read more]

$525,000 Pioneerof the Nile colt tops Keeneland Saturday session title=
Pioneerof the Nile

$525,000 Pioneerof the Nile colt tops Keeneland Saturday session

Leading sire Pioneerof the Nile had the session topper Saturday at the Keeneland September Yearling sale when a colt by the WinStar stallion brought a winning bid of $525,000...

[read more]

Undefeated Artie Schiller filly wins first stakes start title=
Artie Schiller

Undefeated Artie Schiller filly wins first stakes start

Amy's Challenge won a spirited stretch-long battle with Mr. Jagermeister to win Saturday's $80,000 Shakopee Juvenile S. to give the 2-year-old daughter of Artie Schiller her first stakes win...

[read more]

Uni (GB) takes Sands Point S. (G2) for first graded stakes win title=
More Than Ready

Uni (GB) takes Sands Point S. (G2) for first graded stakes win

Uni's victory in Saturday's $400,000 Sands Point S. (G2) made the 3-year-old filly the 80th lifetime graded stakes winner for WinStar Farm's More Than Ready...

[read more]

Pioneerof the Nile's spectacular Thursday at Keeneland title=
Pioneerof the Nile

Pioneerof the Nile's spectacular Thursday at Keeneland

Pioneerof the Nile had one of his best days of his illustrious stallion career Thursday at the Keeneland September Yearling sale when three separate juveniles surpassed the $700,000 mark...

[read more]

$750,000 filly new top at Keeneland for Distorted Humor title=
Distorted Humor

$750,000 filly new top at Keeneland for Distorted Humor

Distorted Humor, the number one broodmare sire of 2017, had his top yearling of the first four sessions of the Keeneland September Yearling sale on Thursday...

[read more]

First Fed Biz Keeneland yearling hammers for $150,000 title=
Fed Biz

First Fed Biz Keeneland yearling hammers for $150,000

Fed Biz's first yearling through the ring at the Keeneland September Yearling sale sold for 15 times his stud fee...

[read more]

Big numbers at Keeneland continue for Bodemeister title=
Bodemeister

Big numbers at Keeneland continue for Bodemeister

A $400,000 filly topped Bodemeister's returns Thursday at the Keeneland September Yearling sale...

[read more]

Pioneerof the Nile has top filly Wednesday at Keeneland title=
Pioneerof the Nile

Pioneerof the Nile has top filly Wednesday at Keeneland

Pioneerof the Nile had the top-selling filly during the third day of the Keeneland September Yearling sale when Ruis Racing went to $825,000 to secure hip No. 672...

[read more]

Popular Bodemeister colt goes for $700,000 Wednesday at Keeneland title=
Bodemeister

Popular Bodemeister colt goes for $700,000 Wednesday at Keeneland

Bodemeister had his top yearling of 2017 on Wednesday at the Keeneland September sale when Shadwell Estate Co. went to $700,000 for the impeccably-bred colt...

[read more]