By Sarah Mace
Long Haul Bay (Quality Road), a homebred for Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables is giving every indication of being a very talented racehorse with a big future. Having stalked his way to victory in a February 18 unveiling in state-bred company, the bay colt kicked away impressively to win the Grade 3, $250,000 Bay Shore for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack on Wood Memorial Day
Long Haul Bay began his career in his home state rather than Florida with the bulk of trainer Chad Brown’s string. As explained by Whit Beckman, Brown’s assistant, “[Long Haul Bay and Cloud Computing] were originally in Florida and Chad sent them up knowing they’d be good horses for New York. Once we got them up, these two separated themselves early as top-quality type horses. It’s just been maintaining them.”
Continued Beckman, “We know the talent is there and they’ve done the rest themselves. We have a lot of turf horses, but horses we know are going to be competitive in these dirt races [up north]. New York, you know, is a great place to keep horses for the winter. It really is.”
Following the scramble for the lead after the bell, 7-5 second choice Long Haul Bay settled in fifth three wide, three lengths behind 15-1 pacesetter Even Thunder through a sharp early fractions of 23.09 and 46.78. Under a snug hold on the backstretch, Long Haul Bay let it out a notch on the far turn and began pass horses three wide.
Up into second by the head of the stretch, he gained command halfway home under left-handed urging, then kicked away in the final furlong under a strong hand ride to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Even Thunder finished second, a neck in front of You’re to Blame. After six furlongs in 1:11.41, the final time for the seven panels over the fast main track was 1:24.14. [VIDEO REPLAY]
“He’s improved so much,” commented winning jockey Manny Franco. “I like him a lot. When I rode him the first time, I knew he could run. He showed that today. He broke sharp but when I saw there were three horses going, I decided to take him back and wait a little. When I saw the chance to make a move, I made it.”
Franco also has a feeling that we could see Long Haul Bay in route races at some point: “Chad [Brown] is a good trainer, he can do whatever he wants [to stretch him out]. I think he’s a talented horse.”
Beckman added, “Mid-stretch, it looked pretty good. I was pretty confident how he was going to finish.”
According to Beckman, the decision to step up into graded company after the maiden win, was not hard. “Obviously with the number [Long Haul Bay] ran and how professionally he ran the first time out, we had options, and, talking with Chad, he thought this would be the best spot.” Long Haul Bay’ Beyer Speed Figure of 90 for his debut effort topped the Bay Shore field.
Foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, Long Haul Bay, now a $183,000 earner from two wins, is the second black type runner of seven winning offspring from French Satin, a Kentucky-bred graded stakes winner and a half sister to multiple Grade 1 winner and sire Lion Heart. The other stakes winner is Midnight Transfer, who was bred in Kentucky by Alpha Delta.
Breeder Jon Clay purchased French Satin at the 2008 Keeneland November sale for $400,000. She has a 2-year-old colt by Bluegrass Cat and was bred last year to Fed Biz.