When You’re This Big, They Call You Mister Major

July 12, 2015

Arguably the best field of older runners assembled all season took to the main track at SAR on Saturday for the $1250.000 Grade I Whitney Stakes and while all the focus was on four-year-olds like Niagra and Duca Di Toscana, Mister Major took down the win for the older runners in style with a powerful win from just off the pace. Perfectly ridden by three-time Whitney winner J R Leparoux, the son of Mr Feelgood was all class of his score in the Grade I Met Mile and now holds three Grade I wins since being purchased for $150.000 by owner Sanny Village, with a return in the Grade I Woodward all but assured in a few weeks time.

No one was overly keen to take the early lead in the Whitney and Duca Di Toscana (8.95) had to use some energy to establish a bit of a presence early, although Visa Vice (9.45) and Mister Major (4.65) also showed enterprise to make things interesting. As the field of nine pushed around the first turn, the outside starter held sway with Duca Di Toscana leading the way from Mister Major, with Niagra (*1.55) battling inside for a decent space ahead of Visa Vice. Everyone settled into a good rhythm with the two leaders tracked by two stalkers, with Hallelujah (8.20) in midpack and Nile Warrior (5.60) last, and a solid opening half-mile of 47.02 saw positions remain unchanged but with Niagra sneaking up the fence. Mister Major began to inch closer with four-furlongs to run as Visa Vice held his ground while wide, outside of Hallelujah and Niagra, and as the top five marched into the far turn, no one else really had much of a response. Mister Major rolled to the front past six-furlongs in 1:10.64 as Duca Di Toscana gave way but Niagra had angled out smartly for his run into the lane and those two looked to be the top chances, with Hallelujah dropping off the pace. Headlong into the lane, Mister Major was all guts with his inside run and had a length to spare on his younger rival and while Visa Vice was still kicking around, he failed to make any late ground and that left things up to the top two in the field. Niagra had every chance to take the leader down but Mister Major always looked to have plenty left and in the end, the margin of victory was a deceiving head with Visa Vice a length back in third, well clear of a charging Nile Warrior who flew for fourth. Lythrum Salicaria (58.20) was a non-threatening fifth while Hardline (11.20) and Galveston (17.35) ran to their longer odds, and beat home a tired Duca Di Toscana and a lackluster Hallelujah, who never really fired in the final furlong.

Mister Major bucked a lot of trends in becoming the oldest winner of the Grade I Whitney Stakes and in giving jockey J R Leparoux back-to-back wins, also ranks as the highest weighted winner since Omni back in 2005 as well. The clear leader of the handicap division now, with three straights wins at three different tracks, he can now focus on the Grade I Woodward and the Grade I JC Gold Cup as his final preps before shipping into KEE for the Classic, where he will face many of these rivals once again.

Congratulations goes out to owner Sanny Village and their seven-year-old gelding Mister Major, a strong winner of the Grade I Whitney Stakes at SAR!

Prediction                   Hardline / Niagra / Mister Major

Winner                        Mister Major

                                       Seven-year-old chestnut gelding

                                       Mr Feelgood-Major Barbara (Hennessy)

Owner                          Sanny Village

Time                             47.02, 1:10.64, 1:34.80, 1:47.49


Mister Major               4.65 pressed leader, clear late, held sway

Niagra                          *1.55 inside run, given every chance, no late momentum

Visa Vice                      9.45 stalked, pressed, no late drive

Nile Warrior                5.60 far back early, salvaged minor award

Lythrum Salicaria      58.20 even effort

Hardline                       11.20 inside run, no late threat

Galveston                       17.35 outrun

Duca Di Toscana        8.95 set pace, faded badly

Hallelujah                     8.20 pressed, tired

Triple T Racing 🙂

Categories: Grade I

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