After finishing third in last year’s Cougar II Stakes (G3) at Del Mar, Speightstown’s Heywoods Beach got his vindication on Saturday, July 24, winning this year’s renewal of the 1 ½-mile turf test with a determined score over last year’s victor Tizamagician.
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Ridden by Ramon Vazquez, Heywoods Beach stalked Tizamagician in the early stages of the marathon event. He ratcheted up the pressure leaving the clubhouse turn and took command past the quarter pole. Once in front, Heywoods Beach kept to his task through the lane to defeat Tizamagician by one length at the wire, covering the 12-furlong distance in 2:30.09, not far off the 1958 track record of 2:29.40 set by Spring Boy.
“I had a lot of horse all the way,” said Ramon Vazquez. “I could feel it. You love it when you know you’ve got that under you. I could feel it all the way.”
Trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing, Heywoods Beach increased his bankroll to $289,251 and improved his record to 18-4-2-3. The dark bay or brown 5-year-old was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock and is out of the Catienus mare Unfold the Rose, making him a half-brother to Stephanie’s Kitten, winner of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) and an earner of more than $4.2 million. The Cougar II marked just the second start of the year for Heywoods Beach, who finished fourth in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) in May in his seasonal bow.
“It was a great race,” said John Sadler. “I’ve won this race several times (four) and I’ve always enjoyed it and it’s a fun race. I’m grateful we have horses for it most years.”
Speightstown’s runners continue to show their versatility. His 2022 Graded stakes winners have won from one mile to 1 ½ miles on multiple surfaces all around the globe—Meydan, Keeneland, Woodbine, Churchill Downs, and Del Mar.