Despite coming over twice on his opponents in Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Nashua at Aqueduct, Black Rock Stables' Violence crossed under the wire first and survived a stewards' inquiry to claim victory in the one-mile contest under jockey Javier Castellano.
The Todd Pletcher trainee settled off the initial early pace of :22 4/5 and :45 2/5 set by the dueling duo of stablemate Darwin and Really Sharp. Violence joined Vegas No Show when that one went up to challenge nearing the turn, and the quartet entered the stretch bunched together.
Violence veered over into Really Sharp in midstretch, cutting off Vegas No Show, before being straightened by Castellano. The Medaglia d'Oro colt came over again, this time forcing Really Sharp into Darwin, who had to take up on the rail, before once more being straightened out by Castellano. Violence crossed the wire two lengths in front of a rallying Vegas No Show, who showed his greeness by weaving back and forth across the center of the track, and despite all the incidents was allowed to keep the win by the stewards.
"Everybody was a little green down the stretch; horses were kind of running all over the place," Pletcher defended Violence. "He wanted to lean in a little, but once Javier (Castellano) got him corrected he finished well. He's still a young colt, a colt I anticipate will continue to improve physically and mentally.
"We kind of anticipated that's how the race would unfold," he added. "We anticipated Darwin and Really Sharp would show some speed, and we talked about stalking those. It worked out pretty well. It was a big effort from seven-furlong maiden at Saratoga to a November Grade 2."
Sent off the near 3-1 second choice in the seven-juvenile field, Violence paid $7.80, $4.50 and $5.40 for stopping the clock in 1:35 1/5 over the fast track. Vegas No Show took second by three lengths over Really Sharp, while Darwin finished another 3 1/2 lengths back in fourth. Israel, Stormy Len and Candy Raider completed the order under the wire.
"I worked him one time in the morning and he didn't show me much," Castellano stated. "But, in the afternoon, he is a different horse. He is much more in the bridle and was more competitive. I like the way he did it today. He lugged in a little bit, but I don't think it was a big deal. He responded so well."
Violence captured his maiden debut at Saratoga by a neck on August 18, and entered this race off his racing bow. Now perfect in two starts, the dark bay colt has banked $168,000 in career earnings.
"I would be a little concerned about the 20-day turnaround (for the Grade 2 Remsen on November 24 at Aqueduct) so we'll see how he comes out of it," Pletcher remarked in regards to what's next for Violence. "Our plan coming into this was that this would be his last run of the year and then we'll go to Florida."
Bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm, Violence has just started to make a dent in his $600,000 purchase price as a Keeneland September yearling. Being a son of the winning Gone West mare Violent Beauty, the juvenile colt deserved that price.
Violence's fifth dam is champion sprinter Gold Beauty, who would foal English Horse of the Year and top sire Dayjur as well as dual Grade 1-winning producer Maplejinsky. That mare's descendents include champion older mare Sky Beauty, who is Violence's third dam; multiple Grade 1-scoring sire Tale of Ekati; Breeders' Cup Distaff queen Pleasant Home; three-time Grade 1 hero Point of Entry, who just ran second in the Breeders' Cup Turf on Saturday; and Point of Entry's ill-fated Grade 1-winning half-sister Pine Island, who broke down during the running of the 2006 Breeders' Cup Distaff.