ARCADIA, CA – Making the jump from maiden claiming company proved no problem for trainer Brian Koriner’s Its Gonna Hurt, who went wire-to-wire in Saturday’s $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
The Speakeasy is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Its Gonna Hurt receiving an automatic berth in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Friday, November 2.
Breaking sharply along the rail under Tiago Pereira at odds of 8/1, Its Gonna Hurt held a slight early edge over Whooping Jay and the 6/5 favorite Mae Never No, the field’s lone filly, through a blazing first 1/4 mile in :21.22. Beginning to pull away as he turned for home, Its Gonna Hurt dug in as Whooping Jay fought back, but it wasn’t enough. Its Gonna Hurt hit the wire with a 3/4-length advantage in a final time of :56.00 even. That marker was just .04 seconds off of the track record for the 5-furlong sprint.
“My horse broke good and his last work was good, so when he took the lead, I just let him go and he had enough left to hold them off,” Pereira said. “I chirped to him when I wanted more and he gave it to me.”
Whooping Jay necked out Mae Never No for second, while farther behind, Midnight Mystery crossed 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Hartel, who ran four-wide in the far turn and weakened in the lane. Principe Carlo was never a threat and completed the order of finish. Owning was scratched.
Its Gonna Hurt’s win was his second straight following a maiden-breaking score last out in a $80,000 claiming event over 5 furlongs on the Del Mar sand. The juvenile son of Violence increased his bankroll to $81,945 for owners Janet Lyons, Evan Trommer, Andrew Trommer, and Matthew Trommer.
“I told (Pereira) he didn’t have to be (in front),” Koriner said. “I said you can lay right behind them. He didn’t break on top, but the horse dragged him right up there. There was nothing he could do; the horse was just way quicker than they were. He went :44 flat but he was draggin’ him all the way.”
When asked if he would ship to Louisville for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, Koriner was non-committal.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see. It wasn’t really my intention to run in this race. It was the only place to run for a horse that broke his maiden for $80 (thousand).”
Its Gonna Hurt returned $18.60 to win, $9.40 to place, and $5.80 to show. Whooping Jay brought back $10.60 to place and $4.80 to show, while Mae Never No paid $3 to show.