December 6, 2022

Sy Dog rallies in Transylvania; Old Homestead wires Lafayette

Sy Dog wins the Transylvania Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Friday’s cold, rainy opening day at Keeneland furnished several upsets, including in the two undercard stakes for sophomores. The 9.90-1 Old Homestead wired the Lafayette S. to return a $21.80 windfall, and Sy Dog went last to first in the grassy Transylvania (G3), paying $13.40 as a 5.70-1 chance. Both were extending their records to a perfect 3-for-3.

Transylvania (G3)

Head of Plains Partners’ homebred Sy Dog brought a 2-for-2 record into the $3901,125 Transylvania, his graded debut for Graham Motion. But bettors gravitated toward another unbeaten colt, Verbal, who was dispatched as the 2-1 favorite.

While Sy Dog saved ground settling off the slow pace for Irad Ortiz, Verbal was posted out wide early and dragged his way uncharacteristically near the leaders. Considering how fresh and energetic Verbal was in the preliminaries, and his outside post 6, perhaps he was always going to pose a tactical challenge for Jose Ortiz.

As the 20-1 longshot Credibility carved out splits of :24.85 and :50.16 on a good turf course, Coinage tracked closely. Napoleonic War was also handy until getting shuffled back on the inside, and Grand Sonata was well placed just off the pace, remaining unflustered when Verbal ranged up alongside down the backstretch. Coinage took over by the six-furlong mark in 1:15.34, and Verbal tried to go with him as the pace lifted. But the favorite came up empty and soon dropped out of contention.

Coinage kicked away in an attempt to put the race to bed, only to have the closers descend. Grand Sonata found room to rally on the inside, and Sy Dog switched out to attack on the outside. Finishing strongest of the trio, Sy Dog prevailed by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:45.38 for 1 1/16 miles.

Grand Sonata bested Coinage by a half-length for runner-up honors. Napoleonic War did well to surge late once in the clear for fourth, just missing third by a neck. Next came Verbal and Credibility.

Bred in Kentucky by Head of Plains in partnership with Madaket Stables, Sy Dog has bankrolled $349,400 from his 3-for-3 record. The dark bay stormed from far back to break his maiden going away by four lengths Oct. 24 at Belmont Park, and in Aqueduct’s Nov. 27 Central Park S., he defied a slow tempo to get up on the wire.

Sy Dog is the second graded winner for the Cacique stallion Slumber, who is also responsible for Grade 2 scorer Fluffy Socks, herself a Head of Plains Partners homebred. Sy Dog is out of the Scat Daddy mare My Love Venezuela, from the extended family of versatile near-millionaire and noted matron Brownie Points.

Lafayette S.

One race earlier in the $342,175 Lafayette S. on the main track, Delta Downs shipper Old Homestead blasted straight to the lead, and never looked back to remain perfect from three starts.

Trained by Brett Brinkman and piloted by Thomas Pompell, the Marablue Farm and Pegasus Stud homebred rattled off fractions of :22.55 and :45.97. The track was listed as muddy on the feed, but labeled wet-fast on the chart. Old Homestead opened up by 3 3/4 lengths while finishing seven furlongs in 1:22.98.

Surfer Dude chased in second at every call and had one length to spare over third-placer Osbourne. My Prankster, the 7-5 favorite, checked in fourth, followed by American Xperiment, Magnolia Midnight, All in Sync, Ignitis, Unified Report, Tejano Twist, and Barrosa.

The Florida-bred Old Homestead was making his first start away from Delta Downs, and beyond five furlongs. An 11 1/2-length romper in his Jan. 28 debut, the Overanalyze colt followed up with a 5 3/4-length decision at the same trip March 4. The step up in class and distance made no difference to Old Homestead, who has now earned $212,325.

The bay colt was produced by the Songandaprayer mare Pearl de Vere, a half-sister to last year’s Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Liam’s Dove. Further back, this is the family of Grade/Group 1 scorers Yellow Agate and Scenic, tracing to the influential Where You Lead.