Colt pacer Tall Dark Stranger demanded a bid of $330,000 at last fall’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and his first foray into racing indicated the money was well spent. Yannick Gingras bided his time along the rail early with the son of Bettor’s Delight-Precocious Beauty as Just Say Joe (Matt Kreuger) rolled along on the lead through a 1:28.3 six panels. When the field turned for home, Gingras fanned Tall Dark Stranger wide off his cover and he roared by the field with strong and sure strides through a :26.1 last quarter for the 1:55.2 win. Force N Fury (Dexter Dunn) and Sea Of Life (Andy McCarthy) were second and third.
Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor own the winner, who is trained by Nancy Johansson. James Avritt bred Tall Dark Stranger and he is the second foal out of Dan Patch and O’Brien Award winner. The colt’s dam, who is a world champion, is also responsible for Kentucky Sire Stakes champion Beautyonthebeach (Somebeachsomewhere, $289,836).
She’s Speechless (Marcus Miller) converted a pocket trip into a 1:54.4 win in a tight photo over Caviart Heather and late charging Annabella Hanover (Dexter Dunn) in the lone filly pace. The Artspeak-Temptress El filly is trained by Chris Freck for owner Anthony Olswfski. She was purchased at the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale for $17,000.
The day’s opener was won by the Diamond Creek homebred trotting filly Bayou (Tim Tetrick) in a 1:57.1 front-stepping masterpiece over Contepartiro Deo (Andy Miller) and Questichap (Trond Smedshammer). Linda Toscano, on the threshold of her induction into the Living Hall of Fame Sunday, trains. The filly is by Father Patrick and out of Boccone Dolce.
Crucial (Yannick Gingras) was a very impressive winner in her debut for the Ron Burke barn. Falling into the pocket as Wine Rack Hanover (Dexter Dunn) set easy fractions; Crucial tipped out in the stretch to zoom by with :27.1 final quarter-mile. The royally bred filly (Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene) required a $200,000 final bid at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale from Burke Racing, Bill Donovan, J&T Silva, Purnell & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi. Steve Stewart, Maumee River Stable, Black Creek Farm and Martin Schmucker are the breeders.
Harry Landy drove his Father Patrick-Day For Night colt Father Figure to a 1:58.2 win on the front, holding off Light Blue Movers (Ake Svanstedt) and Zacapa (Jimmy Takter) under minimal urging. Father Figure was a $20,000 purchase at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale last fall. He was bred by Marvin Katz.
A pair of really sharp looking colts battled to the wire in the fourth race with Primo Padre (Andy McCarthy) holding off the charging Chestnut Hill (David Miller) through a :27.2 final quarter in a 1:58.1 mile. Rose Run Voyage (Svanstedt) stayed for third. The winner is trained by Tony Alagna for Kelly Walker who bred and owns the son of Father Patrick-Persuasive Action.