Sunday, May 15, 2011

So now it's important: Vital Victory arrives in Start 16

One could be forgiven for thinking that the filly's registered name was a misnomer. After 15 starts without graduating, it appeared that Vital Victory thought winning was anything but essential.

But on Sunday at Calder, she broke through.

Despite being steadied on the backstretch and hung out four-wide on the turn, Vital Victory took command at the top of the stretch and drew to defeat a field of $12,500 maiden-claimers. Her margin of victory was 6 1/2 lengths over second-favored One More For Britt, with Mia Rose a grand total of 14 lengths behind in third. So what if the final time for six furlongs over a sealed track (1:14.80) was about 25 lengths off a track record? At least Vital Victory was off the schneid.

The filly was active yet fruitless as a 2-year-old, failing to hit the board in eight starts. But she began figuring out the game at 3, with three runner-up finishes in seven prior tries this year before scoring in her eighth effort of 2011.

In case you stopped counting, that's 1-for-16 with three seconds. Her total earnings have reached $18,002.

The chestnut filly by Bwana Charlie-Victory Chime, by Polish Numbers, was bred in Florida by Thomas-Narlinger LLC & A.R. Properties. She is campaigned by James W. Steil and was ridden to victory by Jose Alvarez for trainer Joseph Calascibetta.

I recommended Vital Victory at last year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April auction of 2-year-olds in training, where she sold for $20,000 to Mr. Steil as Hip 634. I still think that was a decent price, as the chestnut filly becomes the sixth winner out of seven foals of racing age from the Grade 3-winning Victory Chime. That group includes minor stakes winner GLORIFICATION (Buddha). And, Vital Victory's second dam was Uruguayan champion older mare TOPACIO.

Another item of note is that Vital Victory has shown some of her best efforts in the off-going, which doesn't surprise me much with a Polish Numbers mare as her dam. I can recall, well, a number of Polish Numbers runners splashing home to victory in the past, like Play Bingo's win in the Sussex Handicap at Suffolk and Who Did It And Run's victory long ago in the Garden State Stakes, both in races washed off the turf, and journeyman Toddler's slogging home in front in Aqueduct's King's Point Handicap a decade ago, one of two lifetime stakes victories from his 19 wins in 75 starts. Of course, Polish Numbers offspring also did quite well on grass, so while Bwana Charlie thus far hasn't had a ton of turf winners, it might be worth trying Vital Victory a few more times on the lawn, too.

Also of note: Vital Victory, who was one of the first members of this class of 187 sales selections to make her debut (on July 2, 2010) becomes winner No. 80 from the class; that's 42.8 percent of all selections.

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