In a three-year-old division still in flux, Mr. Money has emerged as an exciting prospect. He scorched stakes rivals for the second straight time with a 6 ½-length decision in Saturday’s $150,000 Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs.
Gabriel Saez was up on the 3-5 favorite for Chester Thomas’ Allied Racing Stable and trainer Bret Calhoun, and Mr. Money tracked Knicks Go until the conclusion of the far turn. He quickly dismissed the pacesetter and accelerated into the stretch with a widening lead, finishing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:42.28.
From the first crop of Goldencents, Mr. Money wasn’t ready for prime time earlier this year when recording a pair of unplaced performances in Kentucky Derby prep races but his form has improved significantly of late. The bay colt registered his first stakes triumph with a 5 ¼-length romp in the Pat Day Mile (G3) on May 4 and kept his momentum rolling while stretching back out to a two-turn distance in the Matt Winn.
“The way this horse was training after the Pat Day Mile, we had an idea he’d run a big race,” Calhoun said. “Gabe rode him perfectly tonight and he’s proving his talent, that’s for sure.”
Connections considered the Preakness after the Pat Day Mile and can now target important summer races like the Haskell Invitational (G1) and Travers (G1).
“That was about as easy as you can do it,” Saez said. “This horse has been so impressive all along and Bret and his team’s hard work is paying off. I’m so thankful to Bred and Chester for letting me ride this horse. The 1 1/16-mile distance was a little test tonight. He certainly proved he can do it.”
Grade 2 winner Signalman, who exiting an unplaced effort in the Preakness, tried to challenge Mr. Money leaving the far turn but proved no match for the impressive winner. The 9-2 third choice easily held second by two lengths over 19-1 Proverb. Armistice Day, Knicks Go, Limonite and 3-1 second choice Nolo Contesto came next under the wire.
A $130,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, Mr. Money was bred in Kentucky by Spuce Lane Farm and is out of the Tiznow mare Plenty O’Toole. He’s now earned $491,220 from a 8-3-2-0 career record.