The Big Torpedo storms home in NYSS Spectacular Bid

Sunday, June 16th, 2024

The Big Torpedo and Eric Cancel cruise to the finish in Sunday’s Spectacular Bid division of the New York Stallion Series at Belmont at the Big A. NYRA Photo.

Tom Morley looked forward to running The Big Torpedo back on the grass after what he called persevering through the winter and running the Big Brown colt on the dirt.

Second in that return to the grass in late April against open company in the Woodhaven Stakes at Aqueduct, The Big Torpedo took it a step further with a victory in Sunday’s $150,000 Spectacular Bid division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes at Belmont at the Big A.

Owned by Thomas Albrecht, Vincent Fusaro and James Klein and trained by Morley, The Big Torpedo won by 3 1/2 lengths over the Central Banker gelding Courtly Banker with the Bustin Stones gelding Bustin Away third and the Leofric colt Fidelightcayut fourth in the Father’s Day feature. Eric Cancel rode The Big Torpedo, who won the 6-furlong stakes over the firm turf in 1:08.38.

“These Stallion Series races are worth so much money,” said Morley, who ran The Big Torpedo in four straight dirt races including the $500,000 Great White Way division of the NYSS last December. “We had several options, we could have run in the Penn Mile or in the ‘A-other-than’ last week at Saratoga, but when you have a Stallion Series horse, you have to have a go at these races.

“Fingers crossed, he’s in good shape and we go up to Saratoga for the Cab Calloway. Now it will be about getting him to relax going into the first turn at Saratoga because it’s back to two turns next time.”

The 7-5 favorite in the field of eight off that close second in the Woodhaven, The Big Torpedo settled in third early as Bustin Away and Courtly Banker scrimmaged through the opening quarter-mile in :22.58.

Cancel was content to stay fourth around the far turn as Bustin Away clicked past the half in :45.66 just ahead of Courtly Banker and Grand Opening. The Big Torpedo surged through spot between the leader and the rail in the stretch, accelerated and opened up to lead in midstretch by a head.

“I was waiting for the right time,” Cancel said. “As soon as the rail opened up just a bit more where I knew he would fit perfectly, I went for it. I had the horse underneath me and once I asked him, he responded very quick.”

The Big Torpedo flew home from there, widening with every stride to finish clear. Courtly Banker edged Bustin Away by a neck for the runner-up spot with Fidelightcayut another head back in fourth. Grand Opening, Heavyweight Champs, Retail Man and Freedsdale completed the field.

“I’ve been working the horse and seeing him train,” Cancel said. “He’s been doing phenomenal. I sat the right trip with him. I knew I didn’t have to be on the lead, I could just sit from behind. That’s what I did, and everything worked out to our favor.”

The Spectacular Bid capped a big eight-day stretch for Big Brown, New York’s leading sire in 2020 who stands for $5,000 at Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions in Stillwater. Champion 3-year-old male and winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2008, Big Brown is also the broodmare sire of last weekend’s Belmont Stakes winner Dornoch and his Kentucky Derby-winning half brother Mage.

The Big Torpedo, bred by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, foaled at Irish Hill Century Farm in Stillwater and out of the Empire Maker mare U. S. S. O’Brien, finished second in his debut going 6 furlongs on the turf last November at Aqueduct. He crossed the finish fourth and was elevated to third via disqualification in the Great White Way in mid-December. The Big Torpedo won a 1-mile state-bred maiden race in mid-January by 10 lengths to earn a spot in the $100,000 Gander Stakes at the same distance. After a well-beaten fifth there, The Big Torpedo returned with a close second in a 1-mile allowance-optional in late March to set up his run in the Woodhaven.

A $130,000 purchased by Fox Hill Farm at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale, U. S. S. O’Brien won three of 11 starts with four placings and earned $143,140. She won the $50,000 Golden Beach Handicap in 2014 at Gulfstream Park for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and trainer Kathy Ritvo.

U. S. S. O’Brien produced her first foal, a colt by Uncle Mo, in 2018. Her second foal, the Mucho Macho Man filly Hang On Honey, won one of two starts and earned $12,330. The Big Torpedo is U. S. S. O’Brien’s fourth foal. He improved to 2-3-1 in seven starts and earned $82,500 to boost his bankroll to $238,400.

U. S. S. O’Brien is also the dam of the 2-year-old Maclean’s Music colt O’Brien’s Song, a $28,000 RNA at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale.

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