Updated on 03/27/2012 12:18PM

Turfway Park: Motion, Team Valor repeat in Vinery Spiral with Went the Day Well

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Patrick Lang Photography
In a performance eerily reminiscent of his stablemate Animal Kingdom's victory in last year's Spiral, Went the Day Well rolls to victory on Saturday at Turfway Park.

FLORENCE, Ky. – Team Valor International president Barry Irwin was enjoying a heavy dose of déjà vu in the immediate aftermath of the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes on Saturday at Turfway Park.

“That wasn’t horrible, was it?” a giddy Irwin asked rhetorically after watching Went the Day Well carry the Team Valor silks to a 3 1/2-length triumph in the Grade 3, $500,000 Turfway showcase.

Um, not horrible at all. In much the same fashion that Animal Kingdom glided to victory in the Vinery Spiral last year, Went the Day Well also was dominant, sparking high hopes that perhaps he, too, will be capable of following it up with a Kentucky Derby victory.

With John Velazquez aboard, Went the Day Well was fourth when he began gaining on the leaders from an inside position leaving the half-mile pole. Velazquez angled him out midway through the final turn, and then Went the Day Well did the rest, drawing away down the stretch while racing a bit greenly for his second victory in five career starts. He returned $12.40 as third choice in a field of 12 3-year-olds after finishing the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:51.33 over Polytrack.

The uncoupled Todd Pletcher duo of Holiday Promise, a 25-1 shot, and Heavy Breathing, the 2-1 favorite, finished second and third, respectively, separated by a length. Handsome Mike, the 7-2 second choice, rallied from last to finish two lengths farther back in fourth.

Unlike Animal Kingdom, who ran in the Derby off a six-week layoff following his Spiral win, Went the Day Well might have another race before the 138th Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

“We’ll have to evaluate how he comes out of the race,” trainer Graham Motion said on a conference call from Maryland after the race. “He’ll go back to Keeneland tonight and give him a week or so. The Lexington might be the only realistic option,” referring to the Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland on April 21.

Motion said “the beauty of this race” in terms of the six weeks before the Derby, “is that you have the option of running one more time.”

Motion said he has been reluctant to compare Went the Day Well with Animal Kingdom “because they’re such different horses,” but he said he was elated with how Went The Day Well left his opposition in the dust.

“Apart from the little greenness, I thought he hardly could have been more impressive,” he said. “He’s lightly raced, and I think it was definitely a good experience for him today. I think he’ll learn from this race.”

Went the Day Well, by Proud Citizen, was bred in New York by James P. Delaney. The colt raced twice on turf in England at 2 before being brought to the United States. Turned over to Motion, he ran fourth, then first, in back-to-back maiden races, both at 1 1/8 miles on the Gulfstream Park main track. Like Animal Kingdom, he trained at the Palm Meadows training center this winter but will remain in Kentucky following the Spiral.

The $2 exacta (4-5) paid $245.40, the $2 trifecta (4-5-3) paid $857.80, and the dime superfecta returned $253.52.

Kyle Stasierowski More than 1 year ago
Dear Mr. McGee, I know the last time that the same owner won the Kentucky Derby in back to back years was when the Meadow Stables's Riva Ridge and Secretariat won. So will Team Valor join the Meadow Stables as only the second owner to win back to back Kentucky Derbys? Sincerely, Kyle Stasierowski 27-year-old loyal TVG viewer, HRTV Live Feed viewer, and TVG Community member from Alden, New York
mace More than 1 year ago
I would like to see a video of Animal Kingdom's victory in this same race last year because going by memory it was a lot smoother, he made it look easy.Their was another Kentucky Derby starter that came out of this race last year,we will see if there is another this year.I always thought AW to dirt would happen when Beyer would throw out colts such as Pioneer of the Nile because their last prep was on AW.I always knew Beyer had a personal bias because their wasnt enough of a history for his figures on AW to be able to produce the figures as acurately as he does on dirt. Well last year it happened and I wont be surprised if it happens this year.The Blue Grass at this writing could prove to be very tough I think Hansen will run here and use the same pattern as he did when he won the Breeders cup Juvenile going from the AW of Turfway to run at Churchill Downs.
OwenJ More than 1 year ago
I am not gushing over Went The Day Well's victory in the Spiral over polytrack. He ran so greenly he almost smothered a horse on the rail at the furlong-and-a half marker. Nice horse but certainly not in the class of Creative Cause, Union Rags and Company.
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
I think this horse is still very green and he is by no means as far along as Animal Kingdom was. I don't see any of these new 3 year olds beating any of the more accomplished 3 years old that ran in the breeders cup last year. It will be interesting to see which colt Johnny V will ride in the derby. I know he has first call to Pletcher, but I would hope he ends up riding the best horse that gives him a chance to win his second derby.
Fred Reardon More than 1 year ago
Pretty impressive. Who knows with any of these 3 yo colts. Fun to watch and 12.40 wasn't hard to take. If you didn't have it, well, you did it to yourself. Numbers be damned.
Virgin Queen More than 1 year ago
i didn't have it. guess i should of listened 2 u. oh wait a minute, u posted 2 hours ago. nothing like a little *RedBoarding* VQ aka Drunk Chic on Dans blog.
mace More than 1 year ago
I will expect you writers to provide a complete comparison on Went the Day Well to Animal Kingdom including race record and speed figures going in to the Derby.Then again I think I know I wont get it ,whenever you want something done right(at least for me)you gotta do it yourself.
Virgin Queen More than 1 year ago
Quoted For Truth