BALTIMORE,MD 05-15-09 – Martin Racing Stable and Carl Moore Management LLC’s Mr. Nightlinger broke on top and fended off rivals the rest of the way to prevail by 1 ½ lengths to capture the 4th running of the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes Friday at Pimlico.
Sent to post as the 2-1 second choice in the five-furlong sprint over a firm turf, the 5-year-old son of Indian Charlie carried jockey Jamie Theriot to victory in 56.29 seconds. Blue Sailor finished second, a heck ahead of hard-charging Rouse the Cat. Heros Reward, the 9-5 favorite, finished fifth.
Mr. Nightlinger paid $6.40. Trained by W. Bret Calhoun, Mr. Nightlinger has won six times in nine tries on turf, including stakes at Keeneland, Churchill Downs and Arlington Park last year.
Heros Reward, seeking a three-peat in the Jim McKay, finished fifth.
Jim McKay Turf Sprint Quotes
W. Bret Calhoun, winning trainer – “In these sprint races, there’s always plenty of speed. We drew favorably. We were outside where we could apply pressure instead of getting pressure applied on us. Things worked out very well.”
Jamie Theriot, winning jockey – “Coming into the race, we knew he was a different horse. The last time we knew he needed a race. I got a chance to work him last week and he showed me he was back to himself. He doesn’t mind pressure if it’s there.”
Howard Wolfendale, trainer, Blue Sailor, 2nd – “He ran great. That’s probably one of the top turf sprinters in the country right there. He beat two or three nice ones in there, too. I’m really pleased with this effort.”
Harry Vega, jockey, Blue Sailor, 2nd – “The race went exactly the way we thought it would. Unfortunately it was a little faster than we wanted. So we had to go to Plan B. My horse ran a sharp race.”
Jose Lezcano, jockey, Rouse the Cat, 3rd – “He ran very good today. I had to take a little hold about half way, but he kept on going.”