10/07/2012 11:36PM

Red Mile: Alagna caps big meet with My MVP's Kentucky Futurity win

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Derick Giwner
Trainer Tony Alagna and driver Mike Lachance raise the Kentucky Futurity trophy.

If you saw footprints on the track heading from the paddock to the winner’s circle on Sunday at The Red Mile, there is a 33 percent chance that they belonged to trainer Tony Alagna. On a day that featured the 120th Kentucky Futurity, the Illinois native stole the show with five wins on the 15-race card including the feature with My MVP.

Alagna scored three late closer victories with Mr Chicago, Modern Family and Maytime Terror, but obviously the highlight of the day was watching My MVP capture the Futurity trophy in straight heats.

My MVP made it to the second heat by working out a nice cover trip and pouncing on the leaders in the stretch to out-head Appomattox at the wire in 1:52.

Driver Mike Lachance immediately noticed that the Cantab Hall colt might be ready for a big day.

“In the post parade when I scored him down, he had his ears straight and felt good,” said Lachance.

The task would get tougher in the second heat. He would meet fellow elimination winner Archangel (1:53 1/5) among others.

Money On My Mind assumed the early lead ahead of Another Amaretto in the final before Archangel quarter-moved to the front. The round one winner set soft fractions of 28 3/5 and 57 1/5 when Lachance had no choice but to make a move.

“I didn’t want to be there (first over), but today it is now or never,” said Lachance.

Lachance made up steady ground with My MVP past three quarters in 1:25 3/5 and got on even terms with Archangel. Although the trip was not ideal, My MVP kept finding more and pulled away to win by a length in 1:53 over Appomattox.

Another Amaretto was third and race favorite Archangel faded to seventh.

“He’s been knocking at the door all year. If any horse deserved a major stakes win, it is this horse,” said Alagna, who elected to remove the horse’s rear shoes for the Futurity.

My MVP earned $247,650 on the day for owners Brittany Farms, Joseph Sbrocco and Modern Family Partners.

The victory was one of many for the 40-year-old Alagna at the two-week Grand Circuit meet.

“We brought a lot of horses out here this meet; 24 head,” said Alagna. “We definitely wanted to support the meet and the people who have kept this meet going. The horses we brought down fit the late closers well or they were stakes caliber horses that have been well-placed all year.”

Alagna only went out on his own as a trainer three years ago and has seemingly built an empire of top horses. In addition to My MVP, he trains the top 2-year-old in the sport, Captaintreacherous.

“I give a lot of credit to the people that I’ve worked for,” said Alagna on his success. “Working for Erv Miller and Brian Pinske, two very well respected people in the industry that trained a lot of horses, I tell everybody that working for them made me into what I am today. I made a lot of calls in the barn when I was running a satellite stable somewhere and all those things were a preparation for something I was going to do myself.”

Win Missy B in Filly Futurity

When the Kentucky Filly Futurity was drawn, many were predicting a race-off because the super talented Check Me Out was planning on racing in only one heat and calling it a day. But no one told Win Missy B.

Known for her gate speed, Win Missy B surprised everyone by taking her time getting to the front in the first heat. When she made the top there was no looking back. Even the great Check me Out, who let her go and drafted along in the pocket, could not pass Win Missy B in the strong 1:52 mile.

“She raced well but just got beat by a sharp horse today,” said Check Me Out’s driver Tim Tetrick.

Win Missy B would be more aggressive in the final but the result was the same. The Charlie Norris trainee made a slow quarter move to the front past the 28 3/5 opening panel and continued along through a 56 2/5 half and 1:24 2/5 three quarter time while facing pressure from longshot D’orsay.

Driver Ron Pierce, who only picked up the drive on the filly last week, was able to shake loose by a length in the stretch and pretty much held that margin with Win Missy B through the wire in 1:52 1/5. The final two-heat clocking of 3:44 1/5 set a new world record for a straight heats victory in the Futurity.

Personal Style finished second and D’orsay held for third.

“She has definitely been getting more relaxed,” said Norris. “I gave Ronnie a couple of tips, he listened and it turned out well.”

Allerage series

Older horses were on display in the Allerage and perhaps the most memorable performance was turned in by Bettor Sweet in the split for older pacers.

Although the multi-millionaire was somehow winless in 2012, he came first-over and posted a huge 1:48 1/5 victory despite temperatures that were dipping into the low 50’s at post time.

“He had some foot issues earlier in the year and just seems to be coming around,” said owner John Cancelliere. “He seems to do much better this time of year.”

With the win, Bettor Sweet edged over the $2.5 million mark in career earnings. He will point to the Breeders Crown at Woodbine for his next start.

Other Allerage winners were Drop The Ball (1:49 2/5), Frenchfrysnvinegar (1:52) and Chapter Seven (1:50 2/5).

 

Read Giwner's Blog on The Red Mile and Keeneland experience