Kirby's Penny is Macho Uno's Third Graded Winner of 2018

05.12.2018 -

Kent Spellman's Kirby's Penny kicked clear in the final eighth of the Vagrancy Stakes (G3) , earning her first graded stakes win in the third race on Belmont's Saturday card.

Watch the Vagrancy Stakes

The 5-year-old daughter of Macho Uno took a three-wide path around the far turn, then overtook the 3-1 Chalon in the stretch to win by about 1 1/2 lengths. Ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Wesley Ward, Kirby's Penny covered 6 1/2 furlongs over Belmont's “good” main track in 1:16.42. Favored Holiday Disguise finished third.

“I think she likes Belmont,” Ward said. “She likes an off track. And, she got a great ride, as I always do with Johnny [Velazquez]. For whatever reason, horses always seem to run great for him. I'm always happy to have Johnny. I can't always get him from Todd [Pletcher], that's his main man, but anytime I can, I'm very thankful to have him.”

As expected, the quick-footed Sounds Delicious grabbed the lead from her rail position out of the starting gate, moving away from the field by about a length down the backstretch. Tracked by both Chalon and Kirby's Penny, Sounds Delicious rated out fractions of :22.20 and :45.15.

Chalon moved up to challenge the leader through the far turn, and while Sounds Delicious battled back bravely, the frontrunner eventually folded at the three-sixteenths pole. Chalon took command from that point, but Kirby's Penny, who had swung wide around the turn, wasn't done yet and was making big strides down the center of the track.

Kirby's Penny easily passed Chalon, kicking clear in the late stages to cross the wire about 1 1/2 lengths in front. Favorite Holiday Disguise closed well to finish third, while Sounds Delicious faded to fourth.

“I went to go and get good position,” said Velazquez, “and when the other one (Chalon) went and put the other horse on the lead, it was perfect because it let somebody else put the fight on the horse in front, so we went to the outside, and she did it all after that.”

Bred in Kentucky by Hidden Springs Farm, Kirby's Penny was a $70,000 Keeneland September Yearling sale purchase. She RNA'd at $75,000 at the OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training, then commanded a final bid of $50,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile sale. A consistent performer through her 2017 season, Kirby's Penny has compiled an overall record of seven wins from 12 starts, with earnings of over $330,000.

She's the third Graded winner of 2018 for Macho Uno following Bobby Abu Dhabi, who earned his first Stakes victory in the April 21 Kona Gold Stakes (G2) and Tommy Macho who took the Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3) to further advance his bankroll toward the $1 million mark.

- edited from, Chelsea Durand photo

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