John Battaglia Memorial S.
( 8.5f ,)
(DK B/ h,
Honor Grades Peacock Alley , by Fast Play
BRamon Rangel, KY.; OElisabeth H. Alexander; TPatrick B. Byrne
Marquetry Grab Gingerly , by Fred Astaire
BElser Farms Corp., KY.; OParaneck Stable; TJennifer Pedersen
Double Honor Camptown Miss , by Carr de Naskra
BFarnswoth Farms, FL.; OCondren, William J. and Sherman, Michael H.; TNicholas P. Zito
Magna Graduate graduated to the stakes-winning ranks with a victory in the March 5 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park. The victory, by 33/4 lengths, naturally has trainer Patrick Byrne thinking of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
“Who knows about the Derby?” said Byrne, who trains the son of Honor Grades for Elisabeth Alexander. “It’s a dream for us; who knows if we can get there.”
Byrne figures to know more about Magna Graduate by running him next in the March 26 Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway.
Alexander, whose farm is located east of Cleveland near Chagrin Falls, Ohio, privately purchased Magna Graduate following the colt’s runner-up effort in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes (gr. III) last September at Turfway.
“I watched him in the barn behind me,” Byrne said. “We watched him all fall, and we thought he’d be a nice horse if he could be bought. We really liked his Kentucky Cup race, which brought us back to this race because it’s a stepping-stone to the Lane’s End.
“He was very impressive in this race,” Byrne continued. “He’s a nice colt, and I think his best days are ahead of him. He’s so immature mentally, but he’s still coming around.”
Magna Graduate’s actual birthday is April 26.
Byrne also likes Magna Graduate’s pedigree, especially the stamina influence of Alleged and Sir Ivor, both of whom appear in the dam’s side of the pedigree. Alleged won two runnings of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) and Sir Ivor captured the Epsom Derby. Both races are at 11/2 miles.
Byrne, who has another Kentucky Derby candidate in Barry K. Schwartz’ Catch Me, started training for Alexander last summer. Alexander and her husband, Quenton, earned a 1998 Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Award in Ohio in the category of outstanding breeder/owner.
Magna Graduate was bred in Kentucky by Ramon Rangel and Nicole Zitani and consigned by Highclere Sales, agent, to the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale, where trainer Gary Simms as agent purchased him for $30,000. Simms trained Magna Graduate for Burr J. Travis before Alexander bought him.
Deceased Honor Grades is represented by 29 stakes winners, including additional 2005 stakes winner Ebony Honor (NZ-III) and last year’s grade I winner, Adoration. Honor Grades stood at Darby Farm Farm (John Phillips, co-managing partner) near Lexington prior to his death in March of 2002.—D.S.