The 4-year-old Indian Charlie colt covered the distance in 1:01.89, shaving .29 seconds off the previous standard and earning a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint as part of the "Win and You're In" challenge series. The victory was Mr. Nightlinger's fifth in a row, all coming since he was moved to the turf by trainer Brett Calhoun in April. The streak includes two grade III stakes wins in Kentucky—the Shakertown at Keeneland and the Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.
With Jamie Theriot in the irons, Mr. Nightlinger broke alertly from the gate and was hustled to the rail. The speedster posted quarter-mile fractions of :21.80 and :44.20 en route to a two-length victory.
“I’m just a passenger on him and I think it would take a real good horse to beat him right now,” said Theriot. “I think he’s the best of the best right now sprinting.”
Mr. Nightlinger picked up $114,000 for owners Martin Racing Stable and Carl Moore Management to boost his bankroll to $498,503 while improving his overall record to nine wins from 18 starts. He won the five-furlong Taylor's Special by 3 1/4 lengths over the course in his most recent start July 26.
Starticus was second throughout the race and his rider, Junior Alvarado, alleged interference at the half-mile pole when the winner lugged in, but the foul claim was disallowed.
“(Starticus) didn’t break as well as I wanted him to,” Alvarado said. “If he had, I would have been a lot closer at the finish. I can’t say for sure I would have beat him, but it would have been a lot closer.”
Prince Woodman, ridden by Richard Migliore, finished third in the 10-horse field, followed by Fort Prado, Mighty Rule, Native Ruler, Dhanyata, John’s Road, Base Commander, and Lovango.
Sent off at odds of 7-10, Mr. Nightlinger carried top weight of 124 pounds and paid $3.40, $2.40, and $2.10. Starticus, making his stakes debut for trainer Ralph Biamonte, returned $4.80 and $3.80. Prince Woodman paid $3.20.
View Stakes Details and Full Equibase Chart