Amy E. Dunne's Leinster might have the oddest record in all of horse racing.
The 4-year-old colt is 0-for-13 in maiden races, but he's 3-for-3 in allowance races and graded stakes.
Yes, sometimes it's all a matter of distance and surface, as Dunne's suggestion to adhere to the colt's breeding and convert Leinster into a turf sprinter has proven to be a gem of wisdom.
The son of Majestic Warrior followed up a pair of allowance wins and rolled to a track-record, three-quarter-length victory Aug. 3 in the 5 1/2-furlong, $194,000 Troy Stakes (G3T) on turf at Saratoga Race Course.
"It was Amy's idea," said trainer Rusty Arnold, who has handled Leinster in his past five starts. "He was doing things he didn't want to do. She didn't want him running long anymore, and she wanted him on turf."
With Leinster being a half brother to two-time Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1T) winner Stormy Liberal, trying Leinster in a turf sprint was highly logical—and productive. Out of the Royal Academy mare Vassar, he was ninth in a two-turn 7 1/2-furlong maiden turf race at Gulfstream Park Jan. 6 in his debut for Arnold and then second in a six-furlong dirt race. After that, Arnold shopped for a maiden turf sprint but couldn't find one that filled.
Instead, he put Leinster in an allowance race at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf and was rewarded with a 3 3/4-length win at 10-1 odds April 18 at Keeneland. Arnold then put Leinster in an allowance optional claiming race against tougher company, again at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, and the result was a 2 1/4-length win June 28 at Churchill Downs as the 2-1 favorite.
Arnold entered the colt in the Troy expecting a short field because of the presence of multiple grade 1 winner World of Trouble , then wound up with a smaller and an easier field when the 3-5 morning-line favorite scratched Saturday morning due to a foot bruise.
"You take a horse like that out, you feel better, I don't have to tell you that," Arnold said about World of Trouble. "He's a great horse."
Without World of Trouble, a field of five went to the gate, and Rocket Heat lived up to his name by carving out a :20.82 opening quarter with Leinster and jockey Tyler Gaffalione tracking three wide in third.
Turning for home, the fractions caught up with Rocket Heat as the trio of Disco Partner , Pure Sensation and Leinster surged past him in midstretch. Disco Partner grabbed a short lead at the eighth pole, but on the far outside, Leinster kicked in top gear and grabbed the lead leaving the sixteenth pole.
Sent off at 5-1 odds ($13), he covered the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:00.23, eclipsing the old mark of 1:00.46 set by Lady Shipman, and accounted for the second track record on the turf at the Spa in as many days. He also gave Arnold graded turf stakes wins in a variety of ways. A day earlier, the conditioner sent out Concrete Rose, who set a slow pace and dominated in the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational Stakes.
The win was the third in 16 starts for Leinster and increased his earnings to $300,111.
Bred in Kentucky by Gryphon Investments, Leinster was bought by Taconic Bloodstock for $85,000 from the Four Star Sales consignment in 2016 at The July Sale, Fasig-Tipton's select yearling sale in Lexington, Ky., and then was a $75,000 RNA at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.
"This is a dream come true," Dunne said. "It's the icing on the cake."
In the battle between stablemates, Disco Partner took second by a length over Pure Sensation, the 8-5 favorite. Both runners are owned by Patricia A. Generazio and trained by Christophe Clement.
As for World of Trouble, trainer Jason Servis said the 4-year-old colt could return to the racetrack by Friday and will most likely target the five-furlong $300,000 Turf Monster Stakes (G3T) at Parx Racing Sept 2, though the $600,000 Forego Stakes (G1) at seven furlongs on dirt Aug. 24 at Saratoga is an outside possibility.