Owner Team Valor International and trainer Graham Motion grab back-to-back victories in the Grade 3 $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky. The two teamed last year to win with Animal Kingdom, the eventual winner of the Kentucky Derby. Wearing the same colors and same saddle number as Animal Kingdom, Went The Day Well might have been mistaken for the Derby winner as he charged across the wire of Saturday’s 1 1/8 mile race.
Went The Day Well settled into fourth under jockey John Velazquez while Todd Pletcher’s maiden winner and post-time favorite Heavy Breathing led the field with Ill Conceived just behind him. The pair continued together through a quick 46:98 half-mile before Went The Day Well and Holiday Promise began to gain ground.
As the four turned into the stretch, Ill Conceived was left behind while Heavy Breathing continued to fight along the rail. Holiday Promise, under the strong whip of jockey Junior Alvarado, continued to slowly gain ground, but not even a bobbled step by Went The Day Well was enough to compromise the son of Proud Citizen who finished 3 ½ lengths in front of longshot Holiday Promise. Heavy Breathing was another length back in third, two lengths in front of fourth place finisher Handsome Mike.
The $282,000 graded earnings Went The Day Well earned for his victory stamps his ticket for the Kentucky Derby, but the Vinery Racing Spiral may not be the colt’s last start before the first Saturday in May. As was evident with his bob into the stretch, Went The Day Well is a bit green and still a young colt learning the ropes. Another race may be required to get him ready to tackle the Derby’s demanding 20-horse field. The connections initially alluded to sending the colt to the Lexington Coolmore at Keeneland April 21, but whether Went The Day Well will race in that race, or in any race, before the Derby is still up in the air.
Went The Day Well paid $12.40, $6.00, and $4.40. Holiday Promise returned $21.80 and $10.80 and completed the $2 exacta for $245.50. Heavy Breathing paid $3.60 and completed the $2 trifecta for $857.80. Handsome Mike completed the $2 superfecta for $5,070.40. The final time was 1:51.33. To view a replay of the race, click here.
Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby