The Spa Spot: Lunar Victory romps in Evan Shipman
Lunar Victory was a decisive winner of the $100,000 Evan Shipman Stakes Monday, scoring by an easy 2 1/2 lengths over Sailmate.
Fiddlers Afleet and Mineswept both scratched, leaving a five-horse field for the 1 1/8 miles New York-bred stake. Lunar Victory dueled with Johannesburg Smile early on before pulling away for his fourth consecutive victory.
The Juddmonte Farms horse trained by Bill Mott paid $4.40 to win as the favorite. He completed the nine furlongs in 1:49.30.
“I think the horse put himself into the race," Mott said. "He’s a pretty fast horse. I had envisioned him settling three or four lengths off the lead. It looked like when he broke, the horse put himself there. As it turned out, he was going comfortably.
"I don’t think [jockey Junior Alvarado] was asking him to do something he was unable to do. He set good fractions and kept going. It looked like he was going to be able to put whatever pressure he needed on the horse on the lead whenever he wanted to. It looked like the others were so far back. I didn’t see anyone make up any ground. He’s turned into a good dirt horse, and I guess it’s a bonus being a New York-bred.”
Lunar Victory, bred by William Parson Jr. and David S. Howe, began his career in England on turf and synthetic surfaces with little success. He was sent back to the U.S. to Mott and has emerged as a very capable dirt runner. He was second in this first try at Aqueduct in December, but then reeled off three straight victories prior to the Evan Shipman.