Leon Reed title passes from Breakin the Fever to Winston’s Chance as stablemates finish 1-2

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

SV Photography

By Sarah Mace

Char-Allie Stable and Kathy Haers’ Winston’s Chance scored his first career stakes victory at Finger Lakes Tuesday when he ran down three-time defending champion and stablemate from the Debra Breed barn Breakin the Fever to win the $50,000 Leon Reed Memorial Stakes.

Three-time Finger Lakes Horse of the Year Breakin the Fever, who is bred, owned and trained by Debra Breed and, like Winston’s Chance, sired by former New York sire Roaring Fever, has enjoyed a stranglehold on the six-furlong sprint for New York-breds for the past three years. The 6-year-old gelding has, however, struggled in 2018, coming into the Leon Reed winless in three 2018 starts. He was bet accordingly, sent off at odds of 10-1 in the six-horse field with new jockey Oscar Gomez in the irons.

Enter upstart stablemate Winston’s Chance, a 5-year-old gelding who won a 7-furlong second-level allowance for New York-breds at Saratoga this summer. Runner-up in the Genesee Valley Breeders’ Futurity for two straight years, he was looking for a first black type win. More of a router than a sprinter (though he did win one of two prior starts at six furlongs), he attracted the services of Nazario Alvarado, Breakin the Fever’s regular rider, and was bet down to 5-2 at post time.

For favoritism, bettors went a third way, betting down the in-form Saratoga Giro to even money. Winner of the George W. Barker Stakes in June, he has finished first or second in his four most recent starts.

After an even break for all, Bavaro (2-1) took the initiative from his inside post, but Breakin the Fever also had good early speed and attended the pace from post two. The top pair vied along the backstretch though hot early splits of 22.05 and 44.91 while Winston’s Chance raced in fifth, three lengths off the early pace and well off the rail.

In the far turn Breakin the Fever engaged Bavaro directly, took over around the quarter pole and opened some daylight at the head of the lane. Winston’s Chance uncoiled his own bid as he angled out five-wide for the drive.

Saratoga Giro made a run at Breakin the Fever in the stretch and was repelled, but Winston’s Chance on the grandstand side had more momentum. Taking a bead on his stablemate, he ran down Breakin the Fever in the final strides, getting the victory by a half-length in a solid final time of 1:09.71. Breakin the Fever, in his best performance of the season finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Saratoga Giro in third. Bluegrass Flash, Sundae On Sunday and Bavaro completed the order of finish. [VIDEO REPLAY]

The Leon Reed Memorial, now in its eleventh running, is named in honor of the Finger Lakes assistant starter who died in a tragic gate accident on November 19, 2005. Leon Reed worked at Finger Lakes for 21 years and members of his family were in attendance to present the trophy on Tuesday.

Bred by Sherry Washburn, Winston’s Chance is the first foal and lone winner out of Betty’s Chance, a two-time winner by Duckhorn, who was bred in New York by Washburn in partnership with Michael Haers. Second dam Erica’s Chance (American Chance), also a New York-bred, was bred by Edwin Wachtel and campaigned by Char-Allie Stable.

The most recent reported foal by Betty’s Chance is a juvenile filly by Courageous Cat, who has not yet started. She was bred to Honorable Dillon this year.

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