If any pedigree handicappers out there thought that a Tapit colt who once sold for $500,000 was worth a flyer in Monday’s $200,000 Steel Valley Sprint, Heartwood rewarded them at juicy odds of 68-1. Favorite backers were out of luck in the Mahoning Valley feature, as the 6-5 Lasting Legacy ground on for fifth, 3-2 Petrov checked in last, and Uncontested was scratched.
Heartwood, the first registered foal from multiple stakes winner and Grade 3-placed Maple Forest (by Forestry), was a pricey Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November weanling. Purchased for $500,000 by the partnership of Bridlewood and Three Chimneys, the gray took four starts to break his maiden for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. But after he got the job done at Churchill Downs on June 4, he was a poor sixth in an entry-level allowance over the same track, and connections offered him at Fasig-Tipton’s Summer Horses of Racing Age Sale.
Now a less imposing commodity back in the same auction ring, Heartwood brought $75,000 from James K. Chapman, best remembered as the trainer of brilliant sprinter Caller One. He remained a work in progress in his first four starts for his new barn. Last when trying the West Virginia Derby (G3), Heartwood reverted to sprinting without success, including a couple of turf experiments. But he turned the corner last time to capture an entry-level allowance at ThistleDown, and continued his progress here despite a stumbling start.
Well placed by new rider Hector Rosario Jr., Heartwood was reserved just a couple of lengths off the pace in fourth. Up front, comebacker Wellabled was posting rapid fractions of :22.69 and :45.46, and that strenuous tempo took its toll in midstretch. Meanwhile, Petrov had been laboring as he lost position on the far turn and was already beaten when hampered.
But Heartwood was on the premises to overtake Wellabled. Taking the overland route, he stayed on better than the rail-skimming Shadow Tracer and prevailed by three-quarters of a length. Ohio-bred Cake Pop made late headway for third, and Wellabled boxed gamely in fourth. The inexperienced Lasting Legacy took an age to get traction from well back, finally working his way into fifth.
Heartwood negotiated six furlongs in 1:11.62 and sparked mutuels of $138.20, $46.20, and $20.60. Co-owned by Stuart Tsujimoto and Chapman, he more than doubled his bankroll to $187,615 from an 11-3-1-0 record.
It’s been a good week for Heartwood’s dam, Maple Forest. Her second foal, juvenile filly Luzmimi Princess, just aired on November 17 at Gulfstream Park West for Grupo 7c Racing Stable and trainer Gustavo Delgado.
Pedigree enthusiasts could also celebrate the supporting feature on the Monday card, the $75,000 Mahoning Distaff, won in last-to-first fashion by Godolphin’s homebred Moiety.
Trained by Eoin Harty, the 4-1 chance blew the start so badly that the chart called it “terrible,” but she was given plenty of time to regroup by a patient Jose Valdivia Jr. Moiety then took advantage of a pace collapse, rallying into contention in midstretch and driving to a 1 1/4-length victory over 40-1 Tune Up and 3-2 favorite Crabcakes.
The daughter of Bernardini and two-time Brazilian champion Be Happy finished in 1:12.66 – a second slower than Heartwood. Moiety, who had been second to Finley’sluckycharm in last year’s Dream Supreme, was rebounding from an uncharacteristic 11th in the Chilukki (G2). Her first stakes score improved her mark to 10-4-5-0, $168,814.