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.
Pangburn captures Maryland Racing Media S. title=
Congrats

Pangburn captures Maryland Racing Media S.

Pangburn, a 4-year-old Congrats filly, came four wide entering the stretch to win the $75,000 Maryland Racing Media S. by a half-length...

[read more]

Polar River continues dominance in $250,000 1,000 Guineas at Meydan title=
Congrats

Polar River continues dominance in $250,000 1,000 Guineas at Meydan

The brightest star on the 3-year-old racing season in Dubai is the Congrats filly Polar River, who toyed with her competition in Thursday’s 1,000 Guineas S., dusting an over-matched group by about 13 lengths...

[read more]

WinStar StableMates announces fourth annual Fantasy Derby handicapping contest

WinStar StableMates announces fourth annual Fantasy Derby handicapping contest

The fourth annual Fantasy Derby Challenge, presented by WinStar StableMates, kicks off this Friday, February 12...

[read more]

Tammy the Torpedo fires big in Suwanee River S. (G3) title=
More Than Ready

Tammy the Torpedo fires big in Suwanee River S. (G3)

More Than Ready got his newest graded stakes winner on Saturday at Gulfstream Park as 4-year-old Tammy the Torpedo led the entire way to take the $150,000 Suwanee River S. (G3)...

[read more]

Colonel John filly dominates Santa Anita’s Wishing Well S. title=
Colonel John

Colonel John filly dominates Santa Anita’s Wishing Well S.

Cadet Roni proved much the best in the $75,000 Wishing Well S. Sunday at Santa Anita Park, splashing to a 6 ¾-length victory...

[read more]

Colonel John has 2 of top 12 on Experimental Free Handicap title=
Colonel John

Colonel John has 2 of top 12 on Experimental Free Handicap

The Jockey Club released the 2015 Experimental Free Handicap on Jan. 29, and Colonel John was the only stallion to have more than one 2-year-old colt ranked in the top 12...

[read more]

Stirring finish for Coastline in Clocker’s Corner S. title=
Speightstown

Stirring finish for Coastline in Clocker’s Corner S.

Speightstown’s talented and consistent son Coastline notched the second stakes win of his career Sunday in Santa Anita Park’s $75,000 Clocker’s Corner S...

[read more]

Haveyougoneaway gets the nod in Oaklawn’s American Beauty S. title=
Congrats

Haveyougoneaway gets the nod in Oaklawn’s American Beauty S.

Congrat’s Haveyougoneaway found an opening along the rail in the stretch on the way to her neck victory in Saturday’s $100,000 American Beauty S. at Oaklawn Park...

[read more]

Teniente Coronel dominates Freemont S. title=
Colonel John

Teniente Coronel dominates Freemont S.

Colonel John’s Teniente Coronel turned in the best performance of his career in the $70,000 Freemont S...

[read more]

Constellation sparkles in 2016 bow title=
Bellamy Road

Constellation sparkles in 2016 bow

Constellation dominated her foes in Sunday’s $100,000 Ruthless S. at Aqueduct by a whopping 10 lengths...

[read more]