Runhappy Gets First Graded Win from 'Rising Star' Following Sea

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Following Sea | Joe Labozzetta

'TDN Rising Star' Following Sea (Runhappy) made the grade with a dominating win in Saturday's GII Vosburgh S., a 'Win and You're In' for the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint at Del Mar.

Following Sea cleared the field of four from his outside draw and it was smooth sailing from there. The Spendthrift Farm homebred, off at odds of 5-2, cut out fractions of :22.59 and :45.24, and, after leaving the rail open as he cornered for home, hit the gas in the stretch to win for fun by 4 3/4 lengths.

Vosburgh defending champion and fan favorite Firenze Fire (Poseidon's Warrior) was second after breaking through the gate prior to the start as the favorite. Big figure earner Baby Yoda (Prospective) was a disappointing third in his stakes debut.

Following Sea, a blowout maiden winner and 'Rising Star' for Bob Baffert on the GI Arkansas Derby undercard, made three prior starts for Todd Pletcher. An eye-catching allowance winner at Belmont June 3, he stretched to two turns for the first time with a well-beaten third–elevated to second via disqualification–in the GI TVG.com Haskell S. July 17. Following Sea was a well-beaten third behind heavyweights Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) and Life Is Good (Into Mischief) in a very live renewal of the GI H. Allen Jerkens Memorial S. last time Aug. 28, which has produced five next-out winners.

“I thought he ran great,” Pletcher said. “We just wanted to take advantage of the outside post and see how everything unfolded. He really took all the strategy out of play in the first 50 yards. He broke great, put himself right on the front and it seemed like he was in hand throughout.

Pletcher continued, “We left the paddock with the idea that we won't take anything away that comes easily. If he breaks well, that's great. If he gets in a speed duel, that's okay, too. So, I said to use judgement and it looked like he made a decision pretty easily. When he made the lead that easily I was pretty confident. He looked like he kicked on pretty well and Joel [Rosario] wrapped up on him pretty late.”

As far as the Breeders' Cup Sprint goes, Pletcher said, “We'll play it by ear and see. I'll talk to the guys at Spendthrift and we'll come up with a plan. It's got to be in play.”

Pedigree Notes:

Following Sea is the fifth stakes winner and first graded winner for young sire Runhappy. This is the 35th stakes/13th graded winner for broodmare sire Speightstown.

Quick Flip–a winner of her first three starts at two, including Tampa's Sandpiper S.–was purchased by Spendthrift Farm carrying Following Sea in utero for $230,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale. She is a half-sister to SW & MGSP Qahira (Cairo Prince) and SW Stormin' Lyon (Storm Boot), and hails from the family of GISW Mitterand (Hold Your Peace).

In addition to the stakes-placed Inspeightof (Orb), Quick Flip's most recent produce includes the 2-year-old, stakes-placed Into Mischief filly Gimmick, purchased by bloodstock agent Mike Ryan for $450,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase, and a 2021 Hard Spun colt. Quick Flip was bred to Authentic for 2022.

Saturday, Belmont Park
VOSBURGH S.-GII, $232,500, Belmont, 10-9, 3yo/up, 6f, 1:09.20, ft.
1–FOLLOWING SEA, 118, c, 3, by Runhappy
                1st Dam: Quick Flip (SW), by Speightstown
                2nd Dam: Motel Lass, by Bates Motel
                3rd Dam: Devil's Lass, by Devil's Bag
'TDN Rising Star' 1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES
WIN.  O/B-Spendthrift Farm LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Joel
Rosario. $137,500. Lifetime Record: MGISP, 6-3-1-2, $513,020. Werk
Nick Rating: D+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Firenze Fire, 124, h, 6, Poseidon's Warrior–My Every Wish, by
Langfuhr. O/B-Mr Amore Stables (FL); T-Kelly Breen. $50,000.
3–Baby Yoda, 118, g, 3, Prospective–More Than Speed, by
More Than Ready. O-Wachtel Stable, Barber, Gary, Pantofel
Stable, LLC and Zaro, Jerold L.; B-Kathleen Amaya, Alexandro
Centofanti & Raffaele Centofanti (FL); T-William Mott. $30,000.
Margins: 4 3/4, 2HF, 4 3/4. Odds: 2.50, 1.15, 1.50.
Also Ran: Good Effort (Ire). Scratched: Jalen Journey.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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