Long On Value needed every bit of the 975 feet of Woodbine’s stretch on the firm turf course to win Saturday’s $191,061 Highlander Stakes (Can-G1) and an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) as part of the World Championships’ “Win & You’re In” Challenge series.
Long On Value settled in midpack under jockey Florent Geroux through fast fractions of :22.44 and :43.55 before moving into the clear through five furlongs in :55.49 and passing six horses to beat Lady Alexandra by a neck in 1:07.13 for six furlongs.
“We’re very proud of the horse,” said Brad Cox, who trains the horse for a partnership of Madaket Stables, Ten Strike Racing and Steve Laymon. “He had been training like a Grade 1 horse, and now he is.”
Lady Alexandra made the lead in midstretch, but it appeared Long On Value had her measured.
“That was a tough one,” trainer Graham Motion said of Lady Alexandra’s narrow loss.
Long On Value is two-for-two since joining Cox’s barn from conditioner Bill Mott. His previous connections tried stretching out the Virginia-bred son of Value Plus, and bay made some noise when third behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner and champion turf male World Approval in last year’s Woodbine Mile (Can-G1).
However, sprinting on the turf is the plan going forward with this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs, where Long On Value won his seven-year-old debut on June 2.
Long On Value is now 9-5-5 from 32 career starts and boosts his earnings to more than $1.1 million, making him only the 19th horse bred in Virginia to eclipse that mark.