Vocally speeds to victory in Kendrick
FARMINGTON — Showing speed throughout, Vocally opened up a big lead before holding off a late rally from the favored Roll On Marquee and won today's $44,800 C.O. Ken Kendrick Memorial Stakes at SunRay Park and Casino here.
Trained by Todd Fincher for owners Brad King and Dale Taylor, Vocally made her debut in the rich stakes race, beating several contenders with prior racing experience, including the runner-up.
Ridden by Norberto Arroyo, Jr., Vocally broke well and quickly assumed command heading down the backstretch in the 4 1-2 furlong sprint, clearing away from her rivals by as much as 3 lengths heading into the far turn.
The 2-year-old New Mexico-bred daughter of Indian Firewater was challenged in midstretch, but had enough late to prevail by a nose, fending off the late challenge of Vance Mikkelson-trained Roll On Marquee in a final time of 52.45 seconds.
"She settled really nice for me once she got clear," Arroyo said. "She's a real nice filly to do that in her first start."
Fincher, who conditions some of the top 2-year-old prospects in the state, was impressed with the way Vocally held on for the win.
"We haven't even really let her run much," Fincher said. "If she'd have gotten beat, it would have been my fault."
Vocally earned $26,800 for her winning connections while sent off as the 5-to-2 second wagering choice, returning $7 to her winning backers.
Sent off as the 7-to-5 post-time favorite, Roll On Marquee, ridden by Alejandro Medellin, simply ran out of real estate. Coming off a maiden win in her debut last month at Sunland Park, Roll On Marquee finished strongly to get the place, more than 6 lengths clear of third place finisher A Kiss For Mom, also trained by Fincher and ridden by Ry Eikleberry.
Rounding out the order of finish behind A Kiss For Mom were Rock N Roll Me, Flying Past Who, Dashing N Daring, Westa and Swiss Eydie.
Live racing at SunRay Park resumes Friday, with highlights of the weekend including the live simulcast of the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico in Baltimore, MD., where Nyquist will attempt to capture the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Steve Bortstein hosts "First Sports" and "The Fast Track" on Fox Sports 1340 AM and 93.9 FM and on iHeartRadio. He serves as paddock show host at SunRay Park & Casino and is a voting member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Follow him @fox1340am on Twitter.