Ridden by Edgar Prado for trainer Bill Mott and owner Zayat Stables, Marcavelly stalked an even pace from third after the opening half-mile, then kicked in through the stretch run as the pacesetters Sedgefield, the favorite, and 42-1 shot Royal War Academy gave way. The winning time for the one-mile event was 1:36 4/5 on firm going.
In Jest rallied for second under Cornelio Velasquez by two lengths over Cobrador, who overcame a rough start to gain third with Garrett Gomez aboard. Sedgefield, favored off his second-place finish in Turfway Park's Lane's End (gr. II) last time, had to settle for fourth, a neck behind Cobrador.
Marcavelly, a bay colt by Johannesburg--Dark Jewel (Majestic Light), was off more than five months coming into Friday's event. In his last start, he ran second to Twilight Meteor in Keeneland's Bourbon Stakes Oct. 27 after setting the pace on the all-weather track. Prior to that, he was second to 2-year-old filly champion Dreaming of Anna in Woodbine's Summer Stakes (Can-III) on the grass. Marcavelly won his first two starts last year, both on the turf. Harrison Stables Inc. bred the winner, a $210,000 Keeneland yearling purchase, in Kentucky.
“We wanted to get him covered up," Mott said of the colt, who usually runs on or near the front. "He has a good turn of foot, so once he got rolling, he took off.”
Mott said Marcavelly would next run during Kentucky Derby week on the turf at Churchill Downs.
Royal War Academy led shortly after the start with Sedgefield, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, bearing down from the outside. Sedgefield gained the lead through opening fractions of :24 1/5 and :48 before Royal War Academy put his nose in front after six furlongs in 1:13. Marcavelly, racing in sixth while off the rail for the first half-mile, made steady progress on the far turn and challenged for the lead while four wide as the field turned for home. Marcavelly was firmly in control reaching the furlong pole and finished with interest under a strong hand ride from Prado as the late markers came on to pick up the pieces.
“He came out of the gate slow, but that may have been the best thing that happened to him," Prado said. "He rated very kindly.”
Sent off as the second choice in the field of nine, Marcavelly paid $6.40, $4, and $3. In Jest, making his second start after an impressive 6 1/4-length tally in his debut for trainer Jonathan Sheppard on the Tampa Bay turf Feb. 11, returned $7 and $4.80. Cobrador, returning to the lawn following a third-place finish in the Battaglia Memorial March 3 on the Turfway all-weather track, was $4.
Sedgefield, the 7-5 choice, was followed by Royal War Academy, Everyman, U D Ghetto, Codeword and Lure My Daisy.
Trainer Darrin Miller entered Sedgefield in the Transylvania with the hope of his increasing his graded earnings toward a start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum (gr. I) Brands.
“The horse broke good, we go in good time, but he never relaxed like the last time," Bejarano said of the beaten choice Sedgefield. "I tried to get him to feel comfortable, but he wanted to go to the lead.”
Marcavelly, now 3-of-5 lifetime with two seconds, earned $93,000 to increase his bankroll to $227,480.