"I went to go and get good position," said Velazquez. When the other one [Chalon, No. 3] went and put the other horse on the lead, it was perfect because it let somebody else put the fight on the horse in front, so we went to the outside, and she did it all after that."
Kirby's Penny rallies to win Belmont's Vagrancy in stakes debut
Making her graded stakes debut, Kirby's Penny rallied from off the pace to win the Grade 3, $200,000 Vagrancy for fillies and mares 4 years old and up on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Breaking alertly from post 2 at odds of 7-1 with Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons, Kirby's Penny was quickly hustled out the gate before settling in second position with Chalon just to her outside as Sounds Delicious led the field of six through swift fractions of 22.20 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.12 for the half.
With a pressing Chalon sent to challenge the leader at the quarter-pole, Kirby's Penny was swung out four-wide. Put under a drive, Kirby's Penny rallied in the stretch passing the pair in front at the sixteenth pole. Extending away to the wire she earned the victory by 1 ½ lengths.
Her final time for the 6 ½-furlong distance was 1:16.42 on a main track listed good.
Returning $16.20 for a $2 win wager, the five-year-old Macho Uno mare picked up her first graded stakes victory for owner Kent Spellman and trainer Wesley Ward boosting her career earnings to $338,916.
"She ran fantastic," said Ward by phone. "We got lucky in that the track is off. She relishes an off going. So, that was a little bit of luck in our favor. You always need luck."
Looking ahead, Ward said Kirby's Penny would likely get a break before returning for a summer campaign at Saratoga Race Course.
"Ultimately, what we'll try to do is try to get her in the [Breeders' Cup] Filly & Mare Sprint in the fall at Churchill," added Ward. "She'll probably get a race in Saratoga and sometimes it rains a lot there, so hopefully we'll get lucky again, and then in the fall at Keeneland. It gets a little rainy there too. That's the key is she loves an off going."
Chalon held on for second followed by Holiday Disguise, Sounds Delicious, Swing and Sway and Ascertain.