08/23/2013 3:54PM

DRF Breeding Standout: Havana just misses Saratoga track record in debut


Havana, from the first crop of classic-placed Dunkirk, was an impressive debut winner Friday at Saratoga Race Course, as the 2-year-old colt missed the track record for 5 1/2 furlongs by less than a fifth of a second.

Havana, who is trained by Todd Pletcher, broke on top under John Velazquez and was in command throughout as he ticked off fractions of :22.18 and :44.49. The colt shook off pace pressure from fellow first-time starter Kendall's Boy and, with Velazquez keeping him to task by flashing the whip, won by 2 3/4 lengths.

He finished 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.64 on a track rated fast, just off the track record of 1:02.51 established by Fastus Cactus on July 25, 2010.

Bred in Kentucky by Harvey Clarke, Havana was a $50,000 purchase by Bruno DeBerdt, as agent, out of the Oakleigh Farm consignment at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale. He was then offered by Excel Bloodstock at this year's Barretts March select sale of 2-year-olds in training, where Demi O'Byrne, agent for the Coolmore team of Michael Tabor, John Magnier, and Derrick Smith, purchased him for $575,000, the second highest price of the sale. He had breezed a furlong in :09.60 during the under-tack show prior to the sale, the co-fastest recorded time at the distance.

Coolmore stands Havana's sire, Dunkirk, at its Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. A son of the late Unbridled's Song, Dunkirk was multiple Grade 1-placed in his brief career, finishing second in the 2009 Belmont Stakes and Florida Derby. Coolmore purchased Dunkirk, who is out of Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Status, for $3.7 million at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Havana is the fourth winner from six starters out of the winning Kyle's Our Man mare Missy Turtle, whose other runners include stakes placed Among the Willows. Missy Turtle is a half-sister to stakes winners Chief J Strongbow and Egg Head, as well as stakes-placed Catsuit.