Most horses nowadays would have rested on some laurels after winning the 1 1/8-mile Albany Stakes at the Spa on Wednesday, but trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr. wheeled Willy Beamin right back “old school” style in the highly contentious Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods King’s Bishop on Saturday, where the 3-year-old gelding delivered a bravura performance, winning the race in the final jumps and becoming the first New York-bred to win the race in its 28-year history.
Even before Wednesday’s Albany was run, the connections of Willy Beamin, a former $25,000 claimer, were considering running in the Grade 1 Travers, but opted instead to enter the seven-furlong King’s Bishop, which attracted a field of 10. The bay was slated to break from rail – a notoriously difficult post out of the Saratoga chute.
Reunited with Albany jockey Alan Garcia for the King’s Bishop, Willy Beamin raced at the rail in seventh and eighth positions in the early stages of the race five lengths off the pace, while Trinniberg carved out fractions of 22.28 seconds for the first quarter-mile and 45.13 for the half.
Trinniberg began gave way in the final furlong, but no fewer than five other horses looked like they were in with a chance, including the New York-bred. Under something of a ride earlier on, Willy Beamin began to gather steam in the four path.
He picked off Trinniberg and another rival first and, racing in the clear, overtook the other three in the final seventy yards to win by one-half length. Fort Loudon finished second a nose ahead of Unbridled’s Note. The final time was 1:22.02. [VIDEO]
The formula of a short turnaround plus a turnback in distance had served Willy Beamin well in the past, when he recorded a victory in the seven-furlong Mike Lee, just four days after winning a one-mile second-level state-bred allowance/optional claimer. The class hike in this case, however, was uncharted territory.
Following the Grade 1 victory, a happy Alan Garcia said, “He ran a very good race. The speed went on and my horse was comfortable all the way through. Turning for home I was looking for room and I angled out and he did it!”
Since trainer Rick Dutrow was with his string at Aqueduct, winning owner James Riccio fielded questions. “Unbelievable,” Riccio said. “He started getting good, good, good. [After the Albany] he had a lot left in the tank, and [the jockey] didn’t even really ask him to run. [Rick] Dutrow is great at [quick turnarounds]. They run better the second time.” Riccio added, “This is the best I’ve ever won, and to be at Saratoga in a Grade 1 with a claimer, I never dreamed of this.”
Riccio was also ready to quip about Willy Beamin’s next start: “What’s today, Saturday? There’s something Thursday, but they drew already.” His straight answer was, “I would say he’s going to get a couple months off. We’ll figure it out. We didn’t look that far down the road, but you never know.”
Claimed for $25,000 by Dutrow and Riccio out of a winning effort at Aqueduct on March 23, Willy Beamin won back-to-back allowance victories in state-bred company in May and June, and earned his first black type with the Mike Lee win on June 24. After a freshening, he took the Albany. Each of the five victories came by open lengths.
Willy Beamin’s Grade 1 triumph in the King’s Bishop is his sixth straight victory, and improves his record to 7-0-0 from 11 career starts. The gelding’s $300,000 winner’s share of the purse increases his earnings bankroll to $ $609,545.
Actually, the results of King’s Bishop yielded a “once-removed” New York-bred exacta, since the dam of runner-up Fort Loudon was champion New York-bred sprinter Lottsa Talc.
A multiple Grade 2 winner and millionaire ($1,206,248) bred by K. C. V. Stable and campaigned by Vincent Mcguire, Lottsa Talc (Talc) won no fewer than 16 stakes races, including a pair of Grade 2s in 1996 – Laurel’s Barbara Fritchie Handicap and Aqueduct’s Distaff Handicap – and the Grade 3 Interborough Breeders Handicap in 1995. Other noteworthy achievements include four consecutive victories in the Schenectady Handicap (1993-1996) and three in the Iroquois. She placed in an additional 15 stakes, including five more Grade 2s and a Grade 3.
Lottsa Talc was voted New York-bred champion older female and champion female sprinter in 1995 and 1996 and retired in 1997 with a career record of 21-10-12 from 66 starts spread over six campaigns. She currently stands at number seventeen on the list of all-time top New York-bred earners.
Lottsa Talc sold to Jacks or Better Farm, Fort Loudon’s breeder, at the 1997 Keeneland November sale for $575,000.
Willy Beamin was bred by Patricia Staskowski Purdy and foaled at Ivy League Farm in Ithaca. He is one of two winners from two starters out of Big Tease, a New York-bred stakes winner and earner of $197,308 by late New York sire Gold Token. Purdy purchased the mare for $6,000 at the 2008 Keeneland January sale.
Willy Beamin first changed hands when he sold as a short yearling at Keeneland in January 2010, purchased by Dr. John Little for $3,000. Anthony J. Bonomo’s Brooklyn Boyz Stables bought him as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton October Kentucky sale for $16,000, and he was campaigned by Mary Ellen Bonomo’s MeB Racing Stables LLC and trained by Dominic Schettino before being claimed by Riccio and Dutrow in March.
Big Tease currently has a 2-year-old filly by Sharp Humor named Humorus Dilemma and a filly born this April by Afleet Express. She was bred this year to New York sire Congaree.