Street Sense’s McKinzie Back to Winning Ways in PA Derby

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10th at PRX, Gr. Stk, $1,000,000GI Pennsylvania Derby (1 1/8m)Winner: McKinzie, c, 3 by Street Sense

McKinzie | EquiPhoto

Making his first start since suffering the first ‘defeat’ of his career in the GII San Felipe S. better than six months ago, TDN Rising Star‘ McKinzie (Street Sense) belied his inactivity with a comfortable 1 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s GI Pennsylvania Derby, giving trainer Bob Baffert his third win in the race in the last five years (subsequent GI Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Bayern, 2013; champion West Coast, 2017).

“If anything can take the sting of a Triple Crown horse retiring (recent retirement of Justify), it is a horse like this,” said winning rider Mike Smith, who was aboard West Coast last year. “He is an incredible horse. Really, really proud of him. Bob had him ready. To come off the bench at a mile and an eighth, Bob is just a tremendous trainer.”

Asked for some early speed, McKinzie landed in third spot early, behind Trigger Warning (Candy Ride {Arg}) and the positively ridden Bravazo (Awesome Again), then was shifted to the outside of those two into the first turn. That move consigned Mr Freeze (To Honor and Serve), front-running winner of the GIII West Virginia Derby, to a very wide run around the bend, while Core Beliefs (Quality Road) settled inside of GIII Smarty Jones S. hero Axelrod (Warrior’s Reward). The well-bet Hofburg (Tapit) lagged well behind through the opening furlongs.

Trigger Warning got a breather of sorts during the middle stages of the race, but McKinzie was glued to his flank, and Smith finally gave the colt his head and they strode into a narrow lead with three-eighths of a mile to come. At that stage, McKinzie looked to idle a bit, and Axelrod emerged as a real danger from the second flight of horses, coursing wide to challenge outside McKinzie in upper stretch. But despite the absence, the favorite had a little something left and though he raced greenly and nearly hit the rail inside the furlong marker, came away to an ultimately convincing tally.

Added Smith, “I felt very confident that I could be aggressive early and move a little early. He is still learning as well, although he has raced he had a lot of time off he got to looking around, looking at the tracks and gawking around and I had a really good hold of him today and I didn’t really want to bother anyone. I picked his head up and when I asked him to finish, he really got underneath me and really galloped out really well.”

McKinzie, named in honor of the late Los Alamitos track executive Brad McKinzie, earned ‘Rising Star’ status for a

5 1/2-length graduation in a seven-furlong Santa Anita maiden Oct. 28, then crossed the line just behind stablemate Solomini (Curlin) in the GI Los Al Futurity, only to be moved up to the win via a much-maligned disqualification. An easy-as-you-like winner of the GIII Sham S. on sophomore debut Jan. 6, he went tooth-and-nail with Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro) down the lane in the San Felipe and had his head in front at the wire, but this time was the victim of a protest that really could have gone either way.

Pedigree Notes:

McKinzie’s dam Runway Model won the 2004 GII Darley Alcibiades S. and that year’s GII Golden Rod S., in addition to a runner-up effort in the 2005 GI Ashland S. for trainer Bernie Flint. She was purchased by Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Farm for $2.7 million at the 2006 Keeneland November Sale, carrying a foal by Storm Cat. The 16-year-old mare is also responsible for the juvenile colt Smart Alchemy (Super Saver) and the yearling filly Map Maker (Liam’s Map). Out of MSW Ticket to Houston, Runway Model is a half-sister to SW & MGSP Mambo Train (Kingmambo) and SP Texas Kitty (Forest Wildcat), the dam of GSW Saham (Lemon Drop Kid). This is also the family of graded winners Southern Honey (Colonel John) and Lucky Player (Lookin at Lucky).

Saturday, Parx
PENNSYLVANIA DERBY-GI, $1,000,000, Parx Racing, 9-22, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:52.05, ft.
1–MCKINZIE, 122, c, 3, by Street Sense
1st Dam: Runway Model (MGSW & GISP, $725,598), by Petionville
2nd Dam: Ticket to Houston, by Houston
3rd Dam: Stave, by Navajo
‘TDN Rising Star’ ($170,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Karl Watson,
Michael Pegram, & Paul Weitman; B-Summer Wind Farm (KY);
T-Bob Baffert; J-Mike E. Smith. $556,000. Lifetime Record:
5-4-1-0, $906,000. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Axelrod, 122, c, 3, Warrior’s Reward–Volatile Vickie, by
Elusive Quality. ($25,000 Ylg ’16 OBSWIN). O-Slam Dunk
Racing; B-Hidden Point Farm Inc. (FL); T-Michael W. McCarthy.
$192,000.3–Trigger Warning, 117, c, 3, Candy Ride (Arg)–Magic Appeal,
by Successful Appeal. ($6,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Brinley
Enterprises LLC; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-Mike L. Rone.
$110,100.Margins: 1 3/4, 7HF, 1. Odds: 2.00, 10.00, 81.70.
Also Ran: Hofburg, Core Beliefs, King Zachary, Bravazo, Mr Freeze, Instilled Regard. Scratched: First Mondays. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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