Team Valor Stables’ Ohio-bred King of the Roxy, voted Ohio Horse of the Year in 2007, made his first start in his home state a winning one Aug. 28 when he captured the $50,000 Honey Jay Stakes at Thistledown.
Five-year-old King of the Roxy, who was on the Triple Crown trail early in his 3-year-old season, won the six-furlong test in 1:10.28 on a track rated "good." He finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Tri Uimet, with Royal Nemesis two lengths back in third.
Ridden by Orlando Mojica, King of the Roxy earned $30,000 for his fifth victory in 14 starts, and increased his career earnings to $599,734. As the heavy 1-2 favorite, King of the Roxy paid $3 to win.
King of the Roxy (by Littleexpectations out of Marrakesh, by Bold Forbes) broke from the gate alertly but was squeezed back to fifth in the opening quarter-mile. He raced outside of rivals until heading into the final turn, where Mojica, who is based at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, angled him to the inside.
“He told me he really didn’t want to go down in there, that the rail was a bit deeper,” said Horacio DePaz, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “Even though it wasn’t the trip we wanted, it worked out well.”
Debbie Kopatz, who bred King of the Roxy and sold him for $8,000 at auction, presented the trophy to the winning connections. She’ll be back at Thistledown Aug. 31 to watch Barry, a half-brother to King of the Roxy, make his career debut in a maiden special weight sprint for Ohio-breds. Barry is named for Team Valor chief Barry Irwin.
In his previous start, King of the Roxy won the July 18 Don Bernhardt Memorial Stakes at Ellis Park. It was his first start back since having been retired to stand at stud, but a deal never materialized.
King of the Roxy won the Futurity Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park at 2 and the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park at 3, both at less than a mile. He was able to come within a half-length of Tiago in a runner-up effort in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles.
King of the Roxy developed a defect at the base of his cannon bone and was unable to continue racing, his connections said at the time.
Pletcher told Thistledown officials by telephone that King of the Roxy may make his next start at Thistledown in the $75,000 Best of Ohio Sprint Oct. 3. The race is part of the championship day for Ohio-bred horses.