Wesley Perseveres in Hall of Fame Win
by Ryan Conley
Date Posted: 8/4/2008 6:34:47 PM
Last Updated: 8/7/2008 4:31:52 PM
Wesley wins the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 4.
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Willmott Stables’ Wesley moved from last to first on the final turn before breaking free from a tightly-bunched field in deep stretch to win the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 4.
Trained by Mark Hennig, who earned his first victory at this year’s Saratoga meet, Wesley finished the 1 1/8-mile event on the Saratoga inner turf in 1:50.22, overtaking pace-setter Thou Swell in the final strides for a half-length victory. A hard-charging Deal Making finished third, another nose back.
It was the first stakes victory of any kind for the 3-year-old gray or roan son of El Prado, who under jockey Javier Castellano, improved to 3-2-0 in seven lifetime starts, including three triumphs in his last four races. His last start, a head victory in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Belmont Park June 28, was his first on the turf.
Wesley was last in a seven-horse field for the first half-mile of the race, trailing Thou Swell by nearly nine lengths, gradually moving to fourth on the final turn as the front-runner posted fractions of :24.17, :49.38, 1:14.77, and 1:38.66. Wesley angled five-wide at the quarter-pole and closed strongly for the win.
“Beautiful. Just like it was supposed to be," Castellano said. "I thought I’d be closer to the pace, but the way he broke, he just sat there, and made one move. Beautiful.”
Even-money favorite Adriano, who was making his second start since being transferred to the barn of Bill Mott after a 19th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), raced behind a wall of horses in the final sixteenth of a mile before shaking loose for a fourth-place finish.
“We had a nice trip until the quarter pole," said Adriano's jockey Edgar Prado. "We were down on the inside and had no place to go.”
Hennig, who is undecided on where Wesley will race next, said the move to turf was good for his trainee.
“He’s bred for the grass," Hennig said. "I think he was struggling with the dirt course. We had aspirations of him being a nice 3-year-old on dirt. Sometimes with those horses, when you move them to the grass, they move forward."
Wesley, who was bred in Kentucky by Domino Stud of Lexington, paid $8.70, $4.60, and $3.50; Thou Swell, $16, and $7.20; and Deal Making $4.30. The $1 exacta, helped by the 26-1 odds of Thou Swell, paid $84.75, and the $1 trifecta paid $405.50.
The winner, who is out of the Alysheba mare Moving Picture, was a $450,000 purchase by Lavin Bloodstock at the 2006 Keeneland September yearling sale, sold out of the Bluewater Sales consignment for Domino Stud of Lexington.
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