Starlight Racing’s Thunder Moccasin followed up his impressive maiden win with an even more stirring performance, as he demolished a short field to take the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) Feb. 11 at Gulfstream Park.
The 3-year-old son of A. P. Warrior scored by 6 3/4 lengths at odds of 1-5 while running seven furlongs in 1:24.16 over the good main track. The bay colt remained perfect in two starts by defeating four rivals. In his Dec. 24 debut over the same track, Thunder Moccasin broke his maiden by 2 1/2 lengths in a 6 1/2-furlong contest.
Thunder Moccasin is trained by Todd Pletcher, who earlier on the card notched his 3,000th career victory. John Velasquez was aboard the promising sophomore.
The colt was bred in Kentucky by Stonewall Farm Stallions and is out of the Storm Cat mare One Stormy Mama. Gainesway, agent, consigned the colt from the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky 2010 select yearling sale. He was purchased for $95,000.
Thunder Moccasin’s expected main competition, Ever So Lucky, was scratched out of the Hutcheson during the morning. The heavy favorite took advantage while sitting the perfect stalking trip under Velazquez, as they closely followed pacesetter Il Villano through opening fractions of :23.34 and :46.89.
Thunder Moccasin took over just as they reached the quarter pole and opened up a clear lead heading into the stretch. Ahead by four lengths at the eighth pole, he cruised through the final furlong en route to an easy victory.
Il Villano held on for second under Elvis Trujillo, a half-length in front of Quick Wit and Ramon Dominguez.
“He’s a very talented colt," Pletcher said. "His first race was so impressive with the move he made we thought we’d take a shot and go right into the Hutcheson. The race came up just the way we talked about where we sat just off (Il Villano), a horse with more seasoning, and he handled it beautifully.
"If he comes back all right, the logical spot next would be the Swale (gr. II, March 10). Right now, my inclination is that he’ll be best staying in one-turn races.”
The winner upped his earnings to $114,300 with the $90,000 winning share. He paid $2.40, $2.20, and $2.10. The exacta (3-5) returned $6.40 and the trifecta (3-5-4) was worth $14.20.