Thursday, August 27, 2009

VIRGINIA EXACTA IN SATURDAY'S TRAVERS STAKES?

Virginia Thoroughbred breeder and owner Edward P. Evans is having an amazing year. While he has consistently stood alone atop the breeders list in the Commonwealth by earnings for all of this decade, this year he has bred and/or raced six Grade I stakes horses. For you non-horse racing folks "Grade I or Grade 1" is the highest ranking level of horse racing. For example, all the Triple Crown races are Grade I stakes races.

(Evans is content to run his Spring Hill Farm in Casanova, VA [just a short drive from T.A.H. World Headquarters] with the help of manager Chris Baker (l) with a minimal amount of public fanfare. Here, the pair were caught in the background of the photo of one of the sale toppers at the recent Saratoga Yearling Sale.)

Back at Belmont Park on July 4, Evans did something that perhaps no other Virginia Thoroughbred breeder has accomplished when his homebreds Cat Moves and Lime Green ran first and second in the $300,000 Prioress Stakes Gr.1. Evans also owns and races both fillies.

It’s possible a Virginia-breeder has bred a win/place combo in a Grade 1 stakes, but we can’t find any record of it for at least the past thirty-five years. The Chenerys were close with Secretariat and Riva Ridge in the inaugural Marlboro Cup back in 1973, but while Riva Ridge was bred by the Chenery's famous The Meadow, he was foaled in Kentucky thus anulling teh VA/VA Grade I win/place accomplishment.

Saturday, Evans is poised to repeat that record-setting performance when his homebred Quality Road (Gr.I winner) tangles with Charitable Man (Gr.II winner, Gr.I placed). Evans races QR, and he sold Charitable Man at the 2007 Keeneland Fall Yearling Sale (Don’t worry, he bought one at Keeneland September ’06 – Spritely, most recently third in the $300,000 Go For Wand Stakes Gr.I at Saratoga). Quality Road is the morining line favorite coming off a track-record setting performance a few weeks ago.

The other Grade 1 stakes performer is Casanova Move most recently third in the $600,000 Alabama Stakes Gr.I also at Saratoga. Both Casanova Move and Charitable Man were honored as Virginia-bred Champions last year.

That's SIX Grade I stakes horses in one year.

Not bad...and it’s still August.

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