Bankit joins seven-figure club in Commentator

Monday, May 31st, 2021

Bankit (second from right) rolls past Winners Laugh en route to victory in Monday’s Commentator at Belmont Park. Dom Napolitano/NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ and Willis Horton Racing’s Bankit joined New York’s millionaires club and helped his sire Central Banker extend his lead on the Empire State’s general sire list with a dominating victory in the $200,000 Commentator Stakes on Monday’s Big Apple Showcase Day card at Belmont Park.

Making his second start in the co-featured 1-mile event for older New York-breds, Bankit won by 13 1/4 lengths over 25-1 longshot Danny California with pacesetter Winners Laugh another three-quarters of a length back in third, Captain Bombastic fourth and odds-on choice Mr. Buff fifth.

The $110,000 first-place check in the Commentator pushed Bankit’s earnings to $1,027,875 and makes him the 57th New York-bred to hit the seven-figure bankroll mark. He’s also the first millionaire for Central Banker, who stands at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs and led the New York general sire list with almost $1.6 million in progeny earnings heading into the lucrative Big Apple Showcase Day card.

Bankit came into the Commentator off back-to-back seconds in the Haynesfield Stakes and an open-company optional at Oaklawn Park, which followed consecutive wins in the Alex M. Robb Stakes at Aqueduct in December and the open John B. Campbell Stakes at Laurel Park in February.

Reunited with Jose Lezcano, who rode him to victory in the Alex M. Robb, Bankit settled in fourth early while Winners Laugh, Mr. Buff and Sea Foam scrimmaged for the lead. Winners Laugh led through a quick opening quarter in :22.76 on the muddy and sealed main track, just ahead of Mr. Buff.

Bankit inched up within 1 ½ lengths around the far turn and past the half-mile in :46.41, sliding through rivals and looking like a winner by the time the field turned for home. Bankit took control in upper stretch, opened up by 5 lengths at the eighth pole and continued to draw away to finish in 1:34.52.

“He broke very good today, right on top,” Lezcano said. “I let the other horses go and just sat there. He did it himself the whole way. When I asked him at the quarter pole, he took off like the good horse he is. I rode him one time and he won. I really liked it. He gave me a very good effort that day.”

Bankit became the 57th New York-bred millionaire Monday at Belmont. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

Bankit’s victory – his sixth in 30 starts and fifth in stakes company for trainer Steve Asmussen– gave co-breeder Marc Holliday’s Blue Devil Racing operation back-to-back wins on the Showcase Day card after Betsy Blue opened the stakes portion of the program in the $125,000 Bouwerie for 3-year-old fillies.

Blue Devil bred Bankit in partnership with Hidden Brook Farm LLC. Foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, Bankit is the first foal out of Sister in Arms. Blue Devil Racing purchased Sister in Arms for $125,000 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale and she won two of six starts before heading to the breeding shed.

Bankit is Sister in Arms’ first foal and he originally sold as a yearling out of the Hidden Brook consignment to SGV Thoroughbreds for $85,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred sale. Bankit was purchased by Winchell Thoroughbreds for $260,000 at the 2018 OBS March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training sale.

“He’s a cool horse,” said Toby Sheets, Asmusen’s New York-based assistant. “He tries hard every time. He’s so cool to be around and one that puts out every time. We had some hiccups here and there, but he’s awesome. He’s run against some nice horses. He’s a millionaire now and he deserves to be. He’s run on an off-track before. He can run on just about anything.”

Sister in Arms also produced an Awesome Again colt named Clifton Park, who sold for $75,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September yearling sale and has won three of 23 starts and $38,551. Her third foal, the 3-year-old Animal Kingdom filly Aunt Mary, has earned $6,660. Sister in Arms did not produce a foal in 2019 and is the dam of a yearling colt by Good Magic and 2021 filly by Street Sense born March 27, both co-bred by Hidden Brook and Blue Devil.

Central Banker, an 11-year-old son of Speightstown who stands for $6,000, sired six blacktype winners and the earners of more than $8.9 million in his first three crops through Sunday. Bankit is his leading earner, along with 2019 New York-bred champion 3-year-old filly Newly Minted ($516,738) and stakes winners Bank On Shea ($450,000), Niko’s Dream ($285,090), Collegeville Girl ($270,526) and Sassy Agnes ($198,782).

Leave a Reply