The 2-year-olds took the spotlight over the Labor Day weekend at Saratoga and Del Mar, with Kentucky-breds taking all four graded stakes to establish themselves at the top of their respective divisions heading into the fall racing season.
Combined with Preservationist’s win in the Woodward S. (G1) at Saratoga, it was a clean sweep of the Grade 1 stakes by horses hailing from the Bluegrass State.
At Saratoga, Perfect Alibi won the $350,000 Spinaway S. (G1) on Sept. 1, backing up her win in the Adirondack S. (G2) and making the daughter of Sky Mesa out of the Maria’s Mon mare No Use Denying 3-for-4 lifetime. Bred by Pin Oak Stud, Perfect Alibi sold for $220,000 to her owner Tracy Farmer at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale.
On Labor Day, Basin rolled to a 6 1/2-length score in the $350,000 Hopeful S. (G1), the stakes debut for the Liam’s Map colt. Bred by Cottonwood Stables, Basin is one of seven winners out of Appenzell, who also produced the millionaire Rise Up. Jackpot Farm obtained Basin for $150,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling sale.
At Del Mar, the Bob Baffert-trained filly Bast dominated the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante S. (G1) by 8 3/4-lengths in arguably the most impressive performance of the weekend. Bast was a maiden coming into the Debutante, having finished second in her Aug. 11 debut. The daughter of Uncle Mo, bred by BlackRidge Stables, is the first foal out of Laffina, who raced only twice but is a sister to four stakes winners. Bast is owned by Baoma Corportation, who picked her out for $500,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling sale.
Nucky, winner of the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity (G1), was also making his stakes debut following a double-digit maiden win only 12 days prior. Bred by Barry and Judith Becker, the son of Ghostzapper is owned by Rockingham Ranch. He is the first foal out of Lady Ten, winner of the Autumn Miss S. (G3)
Six-year-old Preservationist is a testimonial to the patience of both his trainer Jimmy Jerkens and owner Centennial Farm. The son of Arch became racing’s newest millionaire with his win in the Aug. 31 Woodward, though he has raced only 10 times in his career.
Centennial’s CEO Don Little told the TDN that Preservationist never had any big issues, just needed time.
“There was never anything of major concern, but being a rangy, athletic horse of his size, he just needed a little extra time,” Little said. “We always knew the potential was there. Some people could have pushed through [the minor issues]. And I wouldn’t be surprised that if this horse had been in another barn, they might have done that. But that’s not the way we approach it. We were very patient to do what we needed to do, and luckily, it’s come to fruition.”
The big bay has made the most of his six starts this year, reeling of a pair of allowance wins, then taking the Suburban S. (G2) and now the Woodward.
Preservationist was bred by Emory Hamilton and is the second foal out of Flying Dixie, whose siblings include graded stakes winners Hungry Island and Soaring Empire. Preservationist sold to Centennial for $485,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling sale.