Master Plan began to live up to his hefty purchase price when the 3-year-old son of Twirling Candy rallied late under John Velazquez for a 2 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes (colts and geldings division).
The race was one of four stakes on a Jan. 24 card that also included seven Quarter Horse races, with a large crowd in attendance on a sun-splashed day at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s racetrack in Ocala, Fla. The Quarter Horse races and the OBS Championship sprint for fillies are pari-mutuel races, with the remaining Thoroughbred races run as non-wagering events. The four Thoroughbred races on the card were restricted to 3-year-olds that had gone through the ring at an OBS sale, with the Quarter Horse races carded because OBS operates racing under a license for that breed.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for Al Shaqab Racing, WinStar Farm, and China Horse Club, which went to $850,000 to purchase him out of the 2016 OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training, Master Plan raced from near the back of the eight-horse field as Harlan's Quest led Sailing Home through a half-mile in :48 2/5.
Sailing Home took over exiting the second turn after completing six furlongs in 1:12 as Convict Pike moved up to second. Master Plan, who had raced greenly throughout, kicked in when asked a second time by Velazquez and wore down the front-runners, getting the 1 1/16 miles in final time of 1:44 over the all-weather surface.
"He was impressive," Velazquez said of the manner in which the colt took over and won. "But I had to wake him up. I was not conifdent when I got into the second turn. He was not running at all."
Master Plan made his first two starts on turf, breaking his maiden at second asking. In his third and most recent start, the colt bred in Kentucky by Ernest Frohboese was a late-closing second in Gulfstream Park | BloodHorse.com Track Profile">Gulfstream Park’s Pulpit Stakes at a mile over a sloppy track. With two wins and a third from four starts, the colt has earned $97,490.
Sean Tugel, assistant racing manager and director of bloodstock services for WinStar, said the race showed the colt is improving and that he deserves a shot in graded company.
“He definitely wants to go further and he’s still green,” said Tugel of Master Plan, who is nominated to the Triple Crown series. “It’s always very exciting this time of the year to have a 3-year-old that’s going in the right direction and that’s what we have here.
“We’ll get him home and develop a plan for down the road, hopefully in a big stakes race. We’re always gunning for that two-turn 3-year-old and that seemed like what he was going to be. There was nothing that kept him from starting earlier, but maybe (he was) just (lacking) maturity. He obviously is starting to mature and every race has gotten a little bit better.”
Master Plan represented a major pinhooking score for Eisaman Equine, which purchased the bay colt for $70,000 from Romans Racing & Sales at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.
The afternoon of racing precedes the OBS winter mixed sale that will be held Jan. 25-26.
In the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes for fillies at 1 1/16 miles, Ballybrit Stable’s Dynatail went gate to wire and held off a closing On Her Honor to win by 1 3/4 lengths in final time of 1:46 1/5 for 1 1/16 miles under jockey Orlando Bocachica.
The victory was the third in six starts for the 3-year-old daughter of Hightail , who was bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm. Trained by Michael Dini, the filly has won half her six career starts and earned $89,740 for her owner. She is the first black-type stakes winner for her sire.
Dini said the filly’s next start will be in the Florida Oaks (G3T) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Dynatail was initially purchased by Fredrick Town Farms from Eaton Sales for $6,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, and was bought by her current owner for $5,000 from Hoppel’s Horse & Cattle Co. at the 2016 OBS June 2-year-olds in training sale.
Jockey Luis Saez took the first two Thoroughbred stakes on the card, winning the $50,000 OBS Sprint for colts and geldings with Gonzalez Racing’s Uncle B and setting a track record of 1:08 3/5 for six furlongs with Yes I'll Go in the fillies sprint division for Hernandez Racing Club.