PHOENIX STAKES | PURSE: $175,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP | GRADE 3 | SIX FURLONGS
In a speed-rich Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland, it was Sum of the Parts who took command early and wired the field of 10 Oct.
The victory earned the 3-year-old son of Speightstown a spot in the XpressBet Breeders' Cup Sprint Nov. 3.
The Phoenix was the first graded stakes victory for Sum of the Parts, who is owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawr. The colt now has a record of four wins and a second out of five starts this year.
Taking the colt to the lead was the plan even though trainer Tom Amoss said the 6 post didn't exactly suit the horse's running style.
"He is a very fast horse and there were other fast horses in the field," Amoss said. "But the other thing he has going for him is that he is quick out of the gate. I was pleased we made the lead as easy as we did and the rest worked out."
Sum of the Parts was ridden by Julien Leparoux, who already had two wins under his belt on opening day of the Keeneland fall meet going into the Phoenix. The opening quarter was a quick :22.75 and then the pace slowed down to a more moderate :46.04. With a furlong left to go, Sum of the Parts led by four lengths. The final time was 1:09.88.
"The plan was always to be on the lead," Leparoux said. "There were two other speed horses on the inside, but we didn't want to go crazy. At the quarter pole, I had a lot of horse and he finished strong."
Amoss said it was too early to say whether Sum of the Parts would start in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Park. The Phoenix is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race. The winning owners of these races, provided their horses are nominated to the Breeders' Cup World Championship program, will have their entry fees paid for the corresponding race and get a travel allowance.
"It would be an honor to start in the Breeders' Cup, but he is only a 3-year-old and the owners are pretty prudent," he said. "We'll see how the horse comes out of this race. I'm sure there will be a pretty good discussion with the owners."
Sum of the Parts, coming off a runner-up finish in the Groovy Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 13, won for the fifth time in 10 lifetime starts. He extended his earnings to $501,463.
Graded stakes winner Noble's Promise closed much ground for David Cohen in the final sixteenth to finish 1 1/4 lengths behind Sum of the Parts. Laurie's Rocket finished third, a head behind the runner-up.
"This horse has been nothing but a great ride," said Ken McPeek, who trains Noble Promise for JCM Racing. "He is obviously very competitive at this level, and he's never done anything but give it everything he's got. We haven't ruled out the Breeders' Cup."
The complete order of finish was Aikenite in fourth, followed by 8-5 favorite Doctor Chit, Will's Wildcat, Lonesome Street, Cajun Breeze, Hamiltonian, and Night Party.
Sum of the Parts, bred in Kentucky by Farfellow Farms, paid $11.80, $6.20, and $4.80. Noble's Promise paid $8.20 and $6, while Laurie's Rocket paid $8.40. The $2 exacta paid $88.80.