Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Sum of the Parts grabbed command early in Friday's Grade 3, $175,000 Phoenix Stakes on Keeneland's opening day and never looked back en route to a 1 1/4-length victory under jockey Julien Leparoux. The Tom Amoss trainee beat older horses in the six-furlong sprint when stopping the clock in 1:09 4/5 over the Polytrack.
Sum of the Parts set fractions of :22 3/5, :46 and :57 2/5 while chased by Doctor Chit, Will's Wildcat and Cajun Breeze. Not one of those three managed to stick around to the end, fading around the turn as Sum of the Parts kept motoring to secure his first graded victory.
"The plan was to break good and see what the other horses were doing on the inside of us," Leparoux explained. "We wanted to be on the lead but not going crazy. I was glad to be on the lead and going easy. At the quarter-pole, I had a lot of horse and he finished strong.
"It's always good to be here, and I'm happy to be here," he added about riding at Keeneland.
Noble's Promise rallied from midpack to take second. The Cuvee five-year-old found himself briefly blocked in the lane after tracking in fifth on the backstretch, but scooted between rivals to get up and deny Laurie's Rocket by a head on the wire.
"That was terrific. This horse has been nothing but a great ride," trainer Ken McPeek praised the effort by Noble's Promise. "He's obviously still very competitive at this level and he's never done anything but give it everything he's got. He's a lot of fun to be around. He's going to run again and we're considering the Breeders' Cup Sprint. I just talked to (co-owner) Richard (Rigney) and he's game."
Aikenite completed the superfecta while Doctor Chit just missed fourth when a neck farther back. Will's Wildcat, Lonesome Street, Cajun Breeze, Hamiltonian and Night Party completed the order of finish.
Sum of the Parts became just the eighth sophomore to win the Phoenix in the race's 160-year history, joining a roster that also contains Kentucky Derby victor Hill Gail and Horse of the Year Coaltown. The dark bay son of Speightstown earned his first black-type score in the Tom Ridge at Presque Isle Downs on May 15, and followed that up with a lucrative win in the Red Legend at Charles Town in late June.
Given a brief freshening, Sum of the Parts didn't compete again until September 13, where he wound up a half-length second after setting the pace in the Groovy at Belmont Park.
"I was really pleased that we made the lead as easy as we did," Amoss said. "Julien's a great rider here at Keeneland, handled the front end well with this horse. He knows this horse well. We got beat at Belmont with this horse about 3 1/2 weeks ago, but it probably was a blessing. It was his first start since June. I think it got him ready for this race."
The colt earned an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint with this tally, but his trainer was non-committal about his charge's participation.
"That is the day of the Alabama-LSU football game, so we'll have to talk about it a little bit," Amoss laughed.
Bred in Kentucky by Farfellow Farms Ltd., Sum of the Parts brought $75,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling before selling for $150,000 as a Barretts March two-year-old in training. He has more than earned back those prices, having now banked $501,463 to go along with his 10-5-2-0 lifetime mark.
Sum of the Parts is out of the Grade 2-winning Slew's Royalty mare Enjoy the Moment, who closed out her career with a third-place run in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap in 2000. He is the first stakes winner from the mare, who is a full sister to stakes victress Miss Inn Zone, herself the dam of Grade 3-placed stakes hero Zoning In.