Black Onyx stormed home to win the Grade 3 $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. and grabbed 50 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system.
When Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx crossed the finish line Saturday, he was not Triple Crown nominated, but his connections confirmed after the race that they would nominate and pay the late nomination fee of $6,000.
Owner Sam Herzberg of Sterling Racing, who met trainer Kelly Breen in Louisiana the day Breen won the Louisiana Derby with Pants on Fire, was confident in this son of Rock Hard Ten and victory in the Spiral.
“Herzberg had Joe Bravo convinced this morning that he was going to win,” said Breen. “We were nominated [for the Spiral Stakes], thinking about it and it was all Sammy. He thought if he ever had a shot to go to a big race with this horse…He talked me into it.”
Herzberg’s words must have rung true for jockey Joe Bravo as well. “I’ve known the owners for seven or eight years,” said Bravo. “We used to play poker together. We hang out a few nights a week and go to Heat games together. I never handicapped a race as much as this one, ever. I knew every horse inside and out before we left the gate.”