Banner Bill cruises in the Victoria Stakes.

Banner Bill cruises in the Victoria Stakes.

Michael Burns

Banner Bill Busts Loose in Victoria Stakes

Unbeaten 2-year-old son of Rockport Harbor romps by 5 3/4 lengths at Woodbine.

Banner Bill remained unbeaten in two starts for trainer Ralph Biamonte when he took command in upper stretch and romped to a 5 3/4-length victory in the $159,244 Victoria Stakes for 2-year-olds at Woodbine June 18 (VIDEO).

With David Clark aboard, Banner Bill had to survive a claim of foul and a stewards' inquiry before the win became official. Patrick Husbands, riding Distinctly Donovan, lodged a protest over alleged interference by Banner Bill entering the turn in the five-furlong Polytrack event. Distinctly Donovan was eased and did not finish.

Banner Bill, breaking from the far outside in the field of seven, overcome a bobble at the start that left the son of Rockport Harbor in last after three-sixteenths of a mile. Banner Bill rallied six-wide on the turn to reach contention at the top of the lane and quickly swept to the lead. He was in front by two lengths under light handling at mid-stretch and coasted home under a hand ride in a time of :58.60.

Safraction, ridden by Justin Stein, finished second, four lengths in front of Firefall and Jeffrey Sanchez. Stark Ravin Mad, the 5-2 favorite, faded around the bend and finished sixth.

Gin Joint and Firefall dueled for the early lead while posting swift fractions of :21.96 and :45.98.

Owned by R Plus Partners, Banner Bill was bred in Illinois by Ron Magers and Robert Marcocchio. The bay gelding is out of Temporada, by Summer Squall.

Banner Bill began his career May 15 at Woodbine, registering a three-quarters of a length win at 4 1/2 furlongs on the Polytrack.

The winner carried 122 pounds and paid $13.30, $6, and $3.40 as the fourth choice. Safraction returned $3.80 and $2.40 and completed a $48.40 exacta. Firefall paid $3.10 to show.

Threeanddonedan, Gin Joint, and Stark Ravin Mad followed. Bolivar was scratched by stewards.