Fast-improving Who's Up left the folding odds-on favorite Bridgetown past mid-stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length upset victory in his stakes debut in the $100,000 Generous (gr. IIIT) on the Holywood Park turf Nov. 28 (VIDEO).
In a field of promising 2-year-old turf horses, fans could see only Bridgetown, a son of Speightstown returning to action for trainer Ken McPeek three weeks after a solid runner-up effort in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT). But after setting a moderate pace with 9-1 shot Who's Up rating in second for jockey Victor Espinoza, Bridgetown could not withstand the pressure from his pace rival in the lane and gave way to finish fourth at odds of 2-5.
Who's Up is unbeaten in two starts since trainer Kathy Walsh fitted the Graeme Hall colt with blinkers one month ago and he responded by breaking his maiden at Oak Tree at one mile in his initial turf try. He began his career with a pair of defeats over Del Mar's Polytrack, including a runner-up maiden debut and a seventh-place finish in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) Sept. 7.
"We probably ran him back too soon at Del Mar," said Walsh, who previously won the Generous with Mantles Star in 1997. "I know he's two-for-two on turf, but I don't really think he's strictly a turf horse. When you buy them out of a 2-year-old in training sale, they have one object; they have to push them to go real fast. Fortunately, this horse came around real quick."
Walsh said Who's Up was difficult to handle at first, but his morning riders, including Espinoza, worked hard with him.
"I've got him so now that he settles and settles and settles, then down the lane he really picks it up."
Owned by M Racing, Who's Up kicked clear under urging from Espinoza and completed the one-mile Generous in 1:34.39. Marcello finished second, a half-length in front of Lucky Rave. Bridgetown, winner of Woodbine's Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT) prior to his strong Breeders' Cup effort, faded to fourth.
"I've been working with this horse since he started training and it's paid off," Espinoza said. "He used to get a little bit rank and scared because he got all pumped up, but now he's coming along very well. I thought he was going to run very big today."
Bridgetown, breaking from the inside post for Garrett Gomez, led while racing slightly off the rail and took the field along through quarter-mile fractions of :24.50, :48.07 and 1:11.26. But the leader appeared to have trouble switching leads in the lane as Who's Up closed in and he could not match strides as Who's Up pressed on. Marcello, with Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard, stalked in fourth most of the way and closed willingly after angling out in the stretch to get second. The late-running Lucky Rave got up for the show spot under Alex Solis by a half-length over Bridgetown.
"I really don't know what happened," Gomez said of Bridgetwon. "When we started to sprint for home, he was done."
A $95,000 buy at the Keeneland 2008 September Yearling Sale, Who's Up was bred in Florida by Andrew Cant. The chestnut is out of Divine Rockette, by Is It True.
His second win in four starts pushed What's Up's earnings to $93,000. The winner paid $21.80, $8.40 and $6.40. Marcello, in his turf debut for trainer Bob Baffert, returned $13.20 and $9, completing a $267.80 exacta. Lucky Rave was $10.40 to show.
Bridgetown was followed by Ace of Aces, Alfarabi, Coloursoftheglen and Summer Movie.