Twinspired proved a deserving favorite when he captured the $50,000 WEBN Stakes at Turfway Park by 4 1/4 lengths on the night of Feb. 5.
In a field of a dozen 3-year-olds, R Fast Cat finished second by a head over Taptowne. Final time in the one-mile test was 1:41.57 on the Polytrack.
The 3-2 favorite ridden by Jozbin Santana put away Taptowne with a furlong to go and drew off to win impressively. This was Twinspired's first stakes win for his owners, Daniel Johnson's Alpha Stable, Harvey Diamond's Skychai Racing, and Sand Dollar Stable. The son of Harlan's Holiday --Historical Drive, by El Prado, is trained by Mike Maker.
The WEBN Stakes is the second of three local preps for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway March 26, itself a prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
When asked whether Twinspired would return for the third prep, the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes in exactly a month, co-owner David Koenig of Sand Dollar Stable said: “He ran a big race, but we’ll defer those questions to Mike Maker. But how’s this: when we bought him, the plan was the Kentucky Derby, and we’re working backwards from there.”
Five wide on the first turn Santana said he had to adjust his game plan. “I was on the best horse and I was on the outside, just waiting until the three-eighths pole to let the horse run. But (Taptowne) came at me a little bit earlier so I had to move so I wouldn’t be stuck behind heels. But my horse responded really well.”
Twinspired, fifth early, cruised along about four lengths off the pace as Military Jewel ran the first quarter in :23.66 and the half in :47.67. Past the halfway point of the mile race, Taptowne made the bold bid that forced Santana’s hand and took the lead, hitting the three-quarter mark at 1:13.42 with Twinspired a head behind. The two drew away from the field and raced together for a furlong, but at the eighth pole Santana asked Twinspired for more and the race was his. R Fast Cat, ridden by Greta Kuntzweiler at odds of 18-1, closed from last early to catch second choice Taptowne and Rodney Prescott in the last jump.
Behind R Fast Cat were Cuvee's Image, Paige Me, Champion Kid, Drifting Wind, Practical Justice, Bluegrass Dreamer, Banjammer, Sir Rudy, and Military Jewel. Faisal Prince and Grandpa Gibby scratched.
Twinspired, who boosted his earnings to $62,530 with the winning purse of $28,830, returned $5, $3.60 and $2.60 to show. After breaking his maiden at first asking by three lengths on Keeneland's Polytrack last October, the colt had lost three races in a row. The WEBN marked a return to a synthetic surface after two unplaced efforts on turf.
Twinspired was purchased for $140,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale last May. John Jain, Lawrence Opas, and Frank Sinatra bred the gray/roan colt in Kentucky.