09/21/2013 5:36PM

DRF Breeding Standout: Manhattan Johnnie rolls at Belmont

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Manhattan Johnnie, a colt from the family of sprint champion Midnight Lute, rolled to a 5 1/2-length victory in his career debut Saturday at Belmont Park, leading a parade of well-bred runners across the line in a solid maiden special weight event.

Under David Cohen, Manhattan Johnnie broke alertly and shook off early pressure to assume command through a sharp opening quarter of :22.58. The 2-year-old Roman Ruler colt continued to extend his lead around Belmont’s sweeping far turn. Geared down by Cohen through the final eighth, he hit the wire 5 1/2 lengths in front, finishing the six furlongs in 1:12.01 over a track rated sloppy. Eddie Kenneally trains the winner for Joseph Bucci.

Ontario-bred Manhattan Johnnie is out of the unraced Alydeed mare Fancy Deed, dam of two winners from three starters. Second dam Candytuft, by Dehere, is also unraced, but produced three stakes horses, including champion sprinter Midnight Lute, the only two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Now a successful young stallion at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm near Lexington, Ky., Midnight Lute has sired Grade 1 winner Midnight Lucky, Canadian classic winner Midnight Aria, and graded stakes winners Shakin It Up and Govenor Charlie.

Candytuft is also the dam of Grade 2-placed winner Captain Cherokee and stakes-placed winner Tusculum Rd. Her dam Bolt From the Blue, a Grade 3 winner, is a half-sister to Group 1 winner and French and Irish highweight Alydar’s Promise.

Manhattan Johnnie was a $150,000 purchase by Mersad Metanovic Bloodstock out of Hill ‘n’ Dale’s consignment at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. The colt was then consigned to this year’s Fasig-Tipton Florida March sale of 2-year-olds in training by SGV Thoroughbreds, where he went for $400,000 to Barry Berkelhammer, as agent.

Behind Manhattan Johnnie came a pair of well-bred first-time starters, as Wicked Strong (Hard Spun) nosed out Round (Arch) for the place after both went wide on the far turn. Wicked Strong, trained by Jimmy Jerkens for Centennial Farms, is out of the winning Charismatic mare Moyne Abbey, dam of two winners from three starters. Moyne Abbey is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Gulch Approval, stakes winners Approval Rating and Rusty Slipper, and Grade 2-placed winner Highest Class. It is the family of multiple Grade 1 winner Student Council, as well as graded stakes winners Class Kris, Gradepoint, Classic Value, and Don't Get Mad.

Round, trained by Bill Mott for owner-breeders Claiborne Farm and Adele D. Dilschneider, was bred on the same cross that produced that team’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame, and in fact counts the champion among his relatives. Winning dam Enth, by Seeking The Gold, is a half-sister to stakes winners Cease and Total. Round’s third dam, stakes winner Bound, is a half-sister to Group 3 winner and leading sire Nureyev. Bound is the dam of Group 1 winner Archipenko and two other stakes-placed winners, including Blame’s dam Liable.