Nijinsky Stakes (Grade 2)- $175.000 Purse
WO- For Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Quarter on the Turf
July 25, 2020
It was hard to get a feel for Billy Joel in the Nijinsky Stakes. In his tenth career start, he was running on the grass for the first time, and a lack of public turf works left us all wondering how this would go. He has always been a consistent horse, so if he could make the transition, then it could work out well for him. Billy Joel would go off at odds of 13/1 for La Canada Racehorses, and would run a smart race from start to finish to get this win, which is the first such victory for the trainer in the race. Aboard the winner was J Lermyte, and it his first win as well. Congratulations to them! The race was in a time of 1:57.98, the quickest of the four races that were run at this distance.
(½ Mile- :47.45)- Three horses break well out of the starting gate, and prevailing with the lead as they enter the backstretch would be a pair of Mb Stables-trained horses. On the outside, Jump Shot leads Vengeful as they begin the run down the backstretch. The third horse that broke well was California Chrome, out of Nakamura Stables, but he would be restrained into a stalking position. Billy Joel, our eventual winner out of La Canada Racehorses was right behind the quickest starters, and would run just off the lead early on, a little less then two lengths back. There would be a gap of two lengths to Fuji, from Smokey Stover, who led the rest of the pack were running all in close proximity. Long Term Investment (TwinTowersRacing), Brilliant Kruz (Estero Farms), The King Of Now (Night Rider Stables), and Shanghai (Nakamura Stables) were all within five lengths of the lead.
(3/4 Mile- 1:10.85)- Down the backstertch, Jump Shot continues to lead the way with his stablemate, Vengeful, being his shadow to the inside. Billy Joel stays in his stalking position, running in third, but is content to stay a length and a half back without any further push. California Chrome, however, who had been running to his outside, begins to back out of it. Further back, Fuji is still the best of the rest, and has plenty of running room for when he decides to make a move forward. He’s only back by three. Brilliant Kruz is about a length further back to his outside, and still in close proximity, it is Long Term Investment, The King of Now, and Shanghai.
(Top of Stretch, 2F To Go)- As soon as the run around the turn began, Billy Joel started the fire and began making his move. This would prove to be quite easy, as Jump Shot was running out of gas, and Vengeful was not able to get by him. The best mover further back would be Fuji. All that open room that he had sitting in front of him, he put to good use to make his push while in the turn, and while he was still fourth, he was now within a half length of Jump Shot. Of course, his bigger problem would be catching Billy Joel, who was a length and a half in front of him. Shanghai began hitting his best stride, but if Fuji had a lot of work to do to get the lead, it was going to be twice as hard for Shanghai to do it. A lane was set up for him to the inside of Fuji, so he could give this his best shot. Others were not showing anything.
(Finish- 1:57.98)- With the lead, Billy Joel would remain in excellent stride all the way to the wire, making it look like he has been running on the grass his whole life. It’s a sharp looking length win over Fuji, who remained level with him in the stretch, but that was not good enough. Shanghai did all he could, and for that he gets the third place monies. Jump Shot tires to fourth, a half length ahead of Vengeful, as those two seemed to run the same distance to one another for the entire race. The others were also-rans, as the official order ends with The King Of Now, Brilliant Kruz, California Chrome, and Long Term Investment.
About The Winner- Billy Joel, trained by La Canada Racehorses, and ridden to victory by J Lermyte, is a three year old gelding by El Gran Broomstick, and is out of the late Steel Laff. He was bred as a yearling in Louisiana by Broken Spoke Stables, and acquired by La Canada while he was still unraced for $20.000 in private sales in October of 2018. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his fourth in ten starts, his second stake win, and first graded win. His career earnings are now $304.480.
Time: :472 1:104 1:341 1:574
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 3 – 9 Paid 53.10
$1 Trifecta: 3 – 9 – 1 Paid 386.70
Scratched: Maniaco del Controll
Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES