12/13/2015 9:56AM

Aye a Song goes gate to wire in Casey Memorial


The $51,400 Eleanor Casey Memorial was over seconds after the gates opened as Aye a Song jumped to a clear early lead and never looked back en route to a seven-length victory.

Aye a Song, the best 2-year-old filly of the year in West Virginia, now is 5 for 6, with her only loss coming by a neck to the undefeated colt Bullets Fever in the Tri-State Futurity in October. The $30,840 winner’s share of the Casey Memorial purse pushed Aye a Song’s earnings for the year to $165,105.

Aye a Song is owned and was bred by 76-year-old trainer John McKee, who grew up four blocks from Charles Town and has trained at the track since 1969. He stands her sire, the successful Fiber Sonde, a 10-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song.

Fiber Sonde, bred by Aaron and Marie Jones, is a half-brother to the successful stallion Speightstown, who will stand for $100,000 in 2016.

Fiber Sonde never raced, and McKee bought him for $8,000 at the 2007 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Fiber Sonde stands for $1,000. McKee said he bred him to 92 mares this year.

“We bought him at 2 and bred him at 3,” McKee said.

McKee privately bought Aye a Song’s third dam, Traveling Treat, in 1991. A claiming mare, McKee decided to breed her because of how “game” she was. He also bred, raced, and trained Traveling Treat’s daughter, the three-time stakes winner Aye Jacoby, and her daughter Aye Robbin, the dam of Aye a Song.

In addition to the Casey Memorial, Aye a Song has won the Rachel’s Turn Stakes, the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic, and the West Virginia Futurity over males this year.

Aye a Song took jockey Christian Hiraldo to the lead from the outside post in the 10-horse Casey Memorial. She opened up a sizable lead on the backstretch of the seven-furlong race, and the race was virtually over.

Aye a Song paid $3.80 and was timed in 1:27.22.

Charitableprincess finished second after racing wide on both turns. It was 2 3/4 lengths farther back to the longshot Tribal Heat in third.

McKee plans to give Aye a Song a break.

“Not for any good reason,” he said. “She doesn’t have any problems, and she’s actually gained weight.”