Carson Springs Farm's Nkosi Reigns took the lead entering the first turn and never looked back en route to a one-length score in the Spend A Buck Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Race Course Saturday.
Nkosi Reigns covered the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.40 under jockey Jeffrey Sanchez.
Despite leaving from the far outside post in the eight-horse field, Sanchez aggressively had the horse on the lead and the rail entering the clubhouse turn, setting fractions of 23.94, 48.00, 1:12.40 and 1:38.57. Challenged in the stretch by second choice Big Lover, Nkosi Reigns re-broke inside the sixteenth pole and held safe for the win.
"We didn't really have a plan to be on the lead but that's how it worked out," Sanchez said.
The son of Out of Place
, recently transferred from the Chicago-based barn of his owner-breeder Christine Janks to Calder mainstay Ron Spatz, picked up his first graded stakes victory and his first win of any sort since capturing the $45,000 Cigar Stakes at Arlington Park in August 2005. He earned $60,000 from the $100,000 purse to move close to the quarter-million dollar mark at $243,258.
"I'm doing pretty good being a 'groom' (for Janks)," quipped Spatz. "She sends them to me and they run good. Actually, she sent me Sunset Kisses first (second in the Shocker T Handicap) and this one came later. I think there will be more to come. Hopefully, they'll both come back on Florida Million day. They are here because of the opportunities."
Sent off at 7-1 odds, Nkosi Reigns paid $16.20, $7.40, and $3.40. Big Lover returned $4.60 and $3.20. Rehoboth paid $3.40.
Then came Bob's Proud Moment, Supervisor, Mister Fotis, Dazzling Dr. Cevin, and the favored Siphon City.
Also on the Calder undercard, Yesshecandance beat Bianco by three-quarters of a length to win the J. J.'s Dream Stakes, Yesbyjimminy defeated Pop Goes the Tiger by five lengths in the Criterium Stakes, and Darluna cruised to victory in the Shocker T. Handicap, defeating Sunset Kisses by 18 1/2 lengths.