Black Onyx took the lead as they turned for home and shook off a late charge by favorite Uncaptured, scoring the 15-1 upset at the G3 Spiral Stakes late Saturday at Turfway Park.
The start was even for everyone, with the exception of Capo Bastone, who broke a step slow and was last in the early going and was never a factor in the race.
Mac the Man broke sharp, and jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. placed him on the lead right away, followed by Giant Finish and Taken by the Storm right to his outside as they headed for the first turn.
Race favorite Uncaptured also broke well, but jockey Miguel Mena opted for relaxing him just behind the leaders, while jockey Joe Bravo moved Black Onyx to fifth on the outside passing My Name is Michael.
Positions remained unchanged throughout the backstretch until they reached the far turn when Taken By the Storm and Giant Finish took over the lead from Mac the Mac. Just behind them, Uncaptured in the middle, Fear the Kitten on the rail and Black Onyx on the outside also started their bids for the lead.
Bravo looked behind him to see who was coming, but there was no one; so he urged Black Onyx to the lead, leaving Uncaptured covered behind the leaders and making his decisive move to the lead.
Black Onyx took the lead away from Taken by the Storm as they turned for home, taking a one length lead, Uncaptured was finally uncovered on the outside and making a move as well from third.
Once in the stretch, Bravo kept urging Black Onyx while Mena was doing his best to make Uncaptured find his best stride and get to the leader. But Black onyx still had too much at the end and held on steady in the lead to win by 1.5 lengths.
Uncaptured ran a game second considering he had not run since Nov. 24 of last year. Even as he was behind horses in the far turn, it wasn't enough to have changed the outcome of the race Saturday; as the 3-1 favorite, he could only be second best today.
It was one length back to Giant Finish, who wrestled third place away from Taken by the Storm in the final strides, beating him by a length. Taken by the Storm barely held by the neck over Fear the Kitten.
For Greater Glory, Channel Isle, My Name is Michael, Capo Bastone, General Election, Balance the Books and a very tired Mac the Man completed the order of finish.
Black Onyx earned 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points with his win, Uncaptured earned 20, Giant Finish 10 and Taken by the Storm five.
The interesting point here is that neither Black Onyx nor third-pace finisher Giant Finish are nominated for the Triple Crown. Now is decision time for their connections; if they decide to roll the dice and take a shot at it, they must pay the $6,000 nomination fee before the end of the day.
After the race, now Black Onyx is in third place in the Kentucky Derby points standings with 50 points, Uncaptured is eighth with 30, Giant Finish 24th with 10 and Taken by the Storm 32nd with five.
The winner, Black Onyx is by Rock Hard Ten out of Kalahari Cat, by Cape Town. He was foaled April 15, 2010 in Kentucky, bred by Cloverleaf Farms II and bought on the Fasig Tipton Aug. 2011 sale for $125,000.
He was acquired on a private purchase by Sam Herzberg’s Sterling Racing and transferred to trainer Kelly Breen before his first-level allowance win on the Gulfstream Park turf on Feb. 23.
His lifetime record now stands at 5-3-1-0 with a total earnings of $420,680.
|Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes - Grade: 3|
|Distance: One-and-One-Eighth Miles on the All-Weather Track|
|Track Condition: Fast|
|Winning Time: 1:51.98 Fractionals: 23.74, 48.30, 1:13.00, 1:38.36|
|9||Black Onyx||Joe Bravo||33.40||14.20||10.80|
|10||Giant Finish||Jose L. Espinoza||14.40|
|Also ran: 11 - Taken by the Storm , 4 - Fear the Kitten , 6 - For Greater Glory , 2 - Channel Isle , 5 - My Name Is Michael , 12 - Capo Bastone , 8 - General Election , 1 - Balance the Books , 7 - Mac the Man|
|Winning Owner: Sterling Racing|
|Winning Trainer: Kelly J. Breen|
|Winning Breeder: Cloverleaf Farms II, Inc.|
|Wager Type||Winning Numbers||Payoff|
|$2 Pick 3||9-11-9 (3 correct)||671.20|
|$2 Pick 4||6/8/11/13/14-4/6/7/9-11-9 (4 correct)||2,584.00|
|$2 Daily Double||11-9||422.40|