05/17/2014 4:26PM

Ex-claimer Wallyanna scores in James W. Murphy

Tom Keyser
Wallyanna, claimed for $35,000 two starts ago, wins his second straight race for his new connections under Javier Castellano in the James W. Murphy Stakes.

BALTIMORE  – Wallyanna was claimed for only $35,000 two starts back in March. Now, he’s a stakes winner.

Making the best of a perfect inside-out trip stalking provided by jockey Javier Castellano, Wallyanna took the lead in upper stretch and ran off with the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico, scoring by 4 3/4  lengths.

Open the Bank, a 25-1 shot who sent the pace along the inside, couldn’t resist Wallyanna’s stretch punch, but gamely held the place, finishing a half-length in front of Thunder Strike. It was another three-quarters of a length  back to Allstar in fourth.

Special Envoy, the 2-1 favorite in the field of eight 3-year-old turf performers, never threatened after racing well off the early pace and wound up fifth.

Wallyanna, who was claimed out of an on-the-pace win at Gulfstream in his 3-year-old and turf debut, was always prominent in the Murphy. He sat a well-placed third as Open the Bank, under prompting from Allstar, carved out fractions of 23.82 and 48.77 seconds.

Midway on the far turn, Castellano angled Wallyanna three wide to go after the leaders, and collared them into the stretch. Wallyanna lugged in momentarily in upper stretch, but was quickly straightened, and he quickly put this Murphy to rest. He completed the mile over going labeled good  in 1:39.09, and paid $7.80 as the second choice.

Michael Pino trains Wallyanna for Tim O’Donohue Racing. And not only is Wallyanna now 2 for 2 on turf, the Langfuhr colt, from the Tale of the Cat mare Magibel, is also 2 for 2 for his new connections. Prior to the Murphy, Wallyanna was a decisive winner of a starter allowance race on Keeneland’s Polytrack.

“I claimed him,” Pino said, “and when we first got him, he had a presence, and acted like a good horse. I couldn’t have asked for this race to go better. He’s a young horse, and still learning.

“It was very impressive the way he did it today,” Castellano added.