Lightly raced Next Question, making his stakes debut for trainer Mike Trombetta, had all the answers in producing a 16-1 upset in the $511,576 Nearctic Stakes (Can-IT) on the Woodbine turf course Oct. 14 (VIDEO).
Battling for the lead all the way with Bear Tough Tiger, Next Question proved toughest in the stretch under Ramon Dominguez to win the six-furlong test by half a length over British-bred invader Night Carnation. Bear Tough Tiger settled for third with 5-2 favorite Big Band Sound fourth.
The final time was 1:09.32 over a turf course rated "good."
Next Question, racing for Three Diamonds Farm, is a 4-year-old by Stormy Atlantic out of the winless Slew City Slew mare Seattle Stardust who was bred in New York by Dr. Lance G. Bell. The bay gelding, making just his seventh lifetime start in the Nearctic, was coming off a front-running, five-length victory over an allowance/optional claiming field going seven furlongs on the grass at Belmont Park Sept. 12.
As part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series, Next Question receives a fees-paid berth into the BC Turf Sprint (gr. IT) Nov. 3 over the hillside turf course at about 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita Park.
Next Question was away in good order for Dominguez. He took the lead initially on the outside of Bear Tough Tiger and those two dueled through an opening quarter mile of :23.03 and a half in :45.71 while separated by no more than a half-length.
Super Chunky and Artic Fern stalked while Night Carnation, a filly facing male rivals in her United States debut, raced mid-pack for John Velazquez. Next Question battled Beat Tough Tiger, ridden by Justin Stein, while maintaining a small advantage before inching away near the sixteenth pole . Night Carnation, up on the outside, was gaining on the winner in deep stretch but ran out of time while finishing a half-length in front of Bear Tough Tiger.
"I knew judging by the paper that he would be forwardly placed," said Dominguez, the leading rider in money won in North America this year with over $19.3 million. "He is a horse with a lot of natural speed and when we left the gate and I saw (Bear Tough Tiger) trying to make the lead, I was excited about that. I kind of wanted to rate and stalk, but my horse was really pulling me and taking me forward so I decided to just keep him together. I was very happy with how he relaxed and turning for home he gave me a pretty good kick."
Big Band Sound, rallying from 10th after a half-mile for Tyler Pizarro, was a half-length farther back in fourth as the 5-2 choice. Stormy Rush, As de Trebol, Super Chunky, Hammers Terror, Grand Adventure, Fire Lily, and Artic Fern completed the order.
Next Question was a $30,000 yearling purchase by Three Diamonds Farm in the New York Breeders' Sale Co.'s fall mixed sale in October 2009 as part of the consignment of Saratoga Glen Farm, agent. He was offered at the Ocala Breeders' Sale Co.'s spring 2-year-old sale but failed to meet his $170,000 reserve. He is the first winner from four starters produced by his dam Seattle Stardust (by Slew City Slew).
Carrying 117 pounds, Next Question paid $34.10, $15.30, and $10.70 while topping a $254.40 exacta with Night Carnation, a group III winner last year at Sandown Park for trainer Andrew Balding. The 4-year-old filly returned $7.80 and $6.10. Bear Tough Tiger paid $8 to show.
Next Question earned $306,210 for his third lifetime triumph to extend his career bankroll to $403,013.