September 23, 2023

Mo Stash, Corona Bolt make all in Keeneland stakes triumphs

Mo Stash 2023 Translyvania
Mo Stash wins the Translyvania Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Mo Stash‘s first attempt at leading from start to finish was a success as the three-year-old prevailed in the $400,000 Transylvania (G3) on Friday’s opening day card at Keeneland.

Under Luis Saez, Mo Stash set fractions of :23.69, :48.41, and 1:13.84 before turning back a bid from lukewarm 7-2 favorite Nagirroc to win the 1 1/16-mile turf event for three-year-olds by a length. The final time over ground rated good was 1:43.05.

Owned by BBN Racing and trained by Vicki Oliver, Mo Stash returned $12.96. Nagirroc was a clear second over Webslinger, who was followed by Mi Hermano Ramon, Andthewinneris, Candidate, Freedom Trail, Dude N Colorado, Wonderful Justice, Movisitor, and Rarified Flair.

The Transylvania was the first stakes win for Mo Stash and his first since his maiden-breaking debut victory at Ellis Park last August. Later second in the Indian Summer S. over 5 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland, Mo Stash weakened to fourth in the one-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and second in the 1 1/16-mile Columbia S. at Tampa Bay Downs after holding a lead in the stretch of both.

“It’s still going to be a question mark of how far he will go, but here it looked like he kept going and could go another sixteenth,” Oliver said. “That just might be his running style. There’s a lot of races between a mile and a mile and an eighth out there and we’ll just have to pick them out as we go.”

Bred in Kentucky by Rhineshire Farm and a $130,000 Keeneland September graduate, Mo Stash is by Mo Town and out of Making Mark Money, by Smart Strike.

Lafayette Stakes

Future options opened up for Corona Bolt after the colt stretched his speed up to seven furlongs in taking the $400,000 Lafayette S. against a quality field of three-year-olds.

After setting a contested pace of :22.28 and :44.80, Corona Bolt turned back a stretch challenge from 7-5 favorite Hejazi to win by a length for owner Stonestreet Stables, trainer Brad Cox, and jockey Florent Geroux.

“He broke very sharp for me and took command right from the beginning,” Geroux said. “From there I thought the pressure was pretty honest. I was able to take a nice big breather on the turn and he was very brave at the end. When he switched leads, he was able to find another gear and he was very brave all the way to the end.”

The Lafayette was the second stakes win for Corona Bolt, whose previous wins had been at either six or 6 1/2 furlongs. His first added-money score occurred in the Sugar Bowl S. at Fair Grounds on Dec. 26.

“I’m not sure how far he wants to go,” Cox said. “I think he’s got a big future. We need to find some graded stakes for him, and we’re excited about what lies ahead.”

Corona Bolt returned $6.82 after completing the course in 1:23.21 over a fast track. Hejazi finished by 2 1/2 lengths over 66-1 outsider Freezing Point. Rounding out the order were Lugan Knight, Gulfport, Determinedly, and Hurricane J.

Corona Bolt has now won four of five starts, his only loss being a sixth-place finish in his only two-turn attempt, the 1 1/16-mile Southwest (G3).

Bred in Florida by Summerfield Stables and Etarip Stables, Corona Bolt was sold as a $225,000 Keeneland November weanling. Produced by the Quiet American mare Stormbeforethecalm, he’s a Bolt d’Oro half-brother to stakes winner Proven Strategies.