John Battaglia Memorial S.
Hush of a Storm joined the Kentucky Derby trail after surviving an inquiry/objection in Friday’s $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial S., proving best by a 1 1/2-length margin in the first of two qualifiers at Turfway Park.
The John Battaglia Memorial was worth a combined 17 points (10-4-2-1) as a new addition to the Road to the Kentucky Derby series.
Overlooked at 6-1 in his stakes debut, Hush of a Storm stretched his win streak to three, all coming over Turfway’s Polytrack. Santiago Gonzalez was up for trainer William Morey.
Hush of a Storm stalked in midpack before advancing into contention on the far turn. After swinging wide for the stretch drive, the Creative Cause colt lugged in while rallying past runner-up Like the King, who in turn made contact with eventual third-placer and even-money favorite Gretzky the Great.
Hard Rye Guy also checked in tight quarters along the rail in midstretch, altering course and winding up fourth.
Stewards made no change after reviewing the stretch run.
Campaigned by Joseph P. Morey Jr. Revocable Trust, Hush of a Storm won going away and completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.
Like the King finished second by a neck at 6-1 in his first stakes attempt for Wesley Ward. Juvenile Grade 1 turf winner Gretzky the Great, who was opening his 2021 season for Mark Casse, wound up 1 1/4 lengths better than 14-1 Hard Rye Guy.
Catman, Twirling Mamba, Fort Moultrie, Pico d’Oro, Notable Exception, The Predicament, and Bakwena came next under the wire.
Bred in New York by Berkshire Stud, Hush of a Storm improved to three-for-four. He was purchased by his owners for $75,000 at last year’s OBS Spring two-year-old sale and finished sixth when making his debut at Churchill Downs in mid-November.
The sophomore graduated a month later at Turfway, taking a mile maiden special weight by 5 1/2 lengths, and was exiting an entry-level allowance win at a mile on Jan. 6.
Hush of a Storm will point to the $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park on March 27, which will be worth a combined 170 points (100-40-20-10) as a major Kentucky Derby qualifier.
Cincinnati Trophy S.
Wait for Nairobi closed fast to upend rivals in the $65,000 Cincinnati Trophy S., drawing away to a two-length decision in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks qualifier. She left the starting gate as a 15-1 outsider among nine rivals.
The chestnut was making her first start against winners for conditioner Rey Hernandez, breaking maiden via disqualification at Turfway on Jan. 15. Edgar Morales picked up the mount on the Kentucky-bred Carpe Diem filly, and Wait for Nairobi stepped 6 1/2 furlongs over the Polytrack in 1:17.64.
She improved her record to 7-2-1-3 for owner/breeders Hartwell Farm and SF Racing.
Phantom Vision held second at 4-1 after pressing the pace, 3 1/4 lengths better than pacesetter and 9-5 favorite Igloo, who faltered in deep stretch. Speeding was another 3 1/2 lengths back in fourth. Pledge, Just Read It, Dirty Dangle, Lichita, and Devil’s Advocate rounded out the order.
The Cincinnati Trophy offered 17 points (10-4-2-1) toward a berth in the April 30 Kentucky Oaks.