Favored Special Reserve Delivers In Phoenix

Despite not making his stakes debut until his 5-year-old season, Paradise Farms and David Staudacher’s Special Reserve has proven he deserves a chance against the world’s best sprinters next month at Del Mar. This Friday, the son of Midshipman delivered as the 6-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland, earning an expenses-paid berth for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Jockey Joel Rosario never panicked when losing the early lead, and kept Special Reserve driving through the finish line to hold off the late charge of Aloha West by a neck. Special Reserve completed six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:08.54, giving trainer Mike Maker his first victory in the Phoenix.

Special Reserve was very quick out of the gate, leading for the first sixteenth of a mile until Quick Tempo rushed up the inside to take command by a length. Quick Tempo led through fractions of :21.90 and :44.69, with Rosario waiting patiently in second on Special Reserve. Just Might was close up in third, while Mucho stayed near the rail in fourth.

Rounding the turn, Rosario allowed Special Reserve to take over and set him down for the stretch run. Just Might went three wide but failed to sustain his bid. Mucho had to wait for racing room as he moved by the tiring Quick Tempo, while Aloha West began to unleash his rally way out in the center of the course.

Special Reserve was kept to task through the wire, and had just enough left to fend off the challenge from Aloha West, winning by a neck at the wire. Mucho checked in third, while Endorsed closed to fill out the superfecta.

Bred in Kentucky by Russell L. Reineman, Special Reserve is out of the Hard Spun mare Love Spun. He commanded $60,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale, and later brought a final bid of $140,000 at the OBS March 2-year-old sale. Special Reserve began his career in the barn of Randy Mores. He required six starts to break his maiden, and ran in the claiming ranks for a tag as low as $25,000.

Maker claimed Special Reserve for $40,000 in February of this year, and the horse has not finished worse than second since. He was second in the G3 Commonwealth at Keeneland in April, then won the G3 Maryland Sprint at Pimlico in July. Next out Special Reserve won the listed Iowa Sprint Stakes on July 3 at Prairie Meadows, and followed up that effort with a second in the G1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga on July 31, beaten just a half-length by Lexitonian.

Overall, Special Reserve’s record stands at eight wins from 22 starts, with earnings of $638,647.

The post Favored Special Reserve Delivers In Phoenix appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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