Friday, November 25, 2016
Yockey's Warrior made the most of his first stakes start with a very professional-looking 2 1/4-length score in the $75,000 Thanksgiving H. at Fair Grounds. The 4-year-old son of Warrior's Reward is the eighth stakes horse this year for his sire, who currently ranks ninth on the North American Third-Crop Sire list with progeny earnings of $3.4US million.
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Facing a tough field that included the likes of Clearly Now and Union Jackson, Yockey's Warrior made his bid for the lead in upper stretch, but didn't make the front until just inside the furlong marker. He pulled away late under strong handling from Miguel Mena, finishing the six furlongs in an excellent 1:09.23, good for a lifetime-best Beyer Speed Figure of 103.
“We had a decent trip,” Mena said. “This horse broke super-sharp and put me in a great position. He was facing some nice horses today, but really picked it up at the five-sixteenths-pole and he was the best horse today and ran them down.”
“He’s had a world of potential his whole life,” trainer Al Stall, Jr. added. “His race (last out) at Keeneland emboldened us to move forward and try this type of race. He ran a freakishly good race that day and we were worried about him (bouncing), but it looks like he actually improved a little bit today. [W]e’re going to have a lot of fun down the road with him.”
Yockey's Warrior is now 4-1-2 in 10 starts and has earned $178,420 for a quartet of owners that includes his trainer.