Legion Bloodstock features three in Kentucky Juvenile Stakes

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May 6th, 2022

A new bloodstock agency that is off to a super-fast start with its first runners will have an unusually large interest in the $200,000 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes at Churchill Downs May 5.

Three of the 12 horses in the five-furlong dash — 7-2 morning line favorite #9 Simply Super, 6-1 equal-fourth favorite #3 King Adrock, and 15-1 chance #4 Ferrari Kid — were bought at some point through Legion Bloodstock, an agency formed last year by four friends from three different states.

Legion Bloodstock is made up of Evan Ciannello and Kyle Zorn, both of Lexington, Kentucky; Travis Durr, who owns a training center in St. Matthews, South Carolina; and Kristian Villante of Ocala, Florida.

“We’re all friends and we all shop the sales, so we thought it might make sense to combine forces and launch a bloodstock agency,” Ciannello said.

“There are so many horse sales on the calendar and a lot of these sales are so tough to shop, so we thought we could better serve our clients by teaming up as to leave no stone left unturned.”

To date, they’re off to a great start. Four of the first five of their purchases to the races have won, including all three of their Kentucky Juvenile Stakes starters and Botta Swing, who was given TDN Rising Star status after winning at Woodbine May 1.

“The name Legion came from the fact that it takes a Legion to be successful continuously in this industry,” Villante said. "Anyone can have a little 'luck' but we all fully believe that at Legion we are just a piece of the puzzle.

In keeping with their reason for being, the trio of Kentucky Juvenile Stakes starters were bought at three different sales, in two different states. King Adrock was a $5,700 short yearling purchase at Ocala in January 2021 (he was subsequently on-sold at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale for $25,000), Simply Super was bought at the 2021 Midlantic Eastern Fall sale in Timonium, Maryland for $30,000, while Ferrari Kid was a $100,000 buy at the Ocala March sale of two-year-olds for $100,000 in March this year.

“We pride ourselves that they were bought at three different stages in their life, for three different owners/clients, and are trained by three different trainers,” Villante said.

“It goes to show that there isn’t a recipe or outline, but rather that we are very adaptable. As long as everyone is on the same page and the horses are placed in great hands and handled properly, any client/owner can be successful and be running on a big stage like the Kentucky Juvenile.”

Simply Super, a son of Super Saver, is the 7-2 morning-line favorite for trainer Michael Maker after beating Talkin Pharoah, from the stable of leading early season juvenile trainer Wesley Ward, at Keeneland April 20. King Adrock, from the stable of Luis Mendez, won his debut at Keeneland April 8 by five lengths, while Ferrari Kid won for trainer Scott Lake by a length at Parx Racing April 26.

The runner without a connection to Legion Bloodstock with the shortest morning-line odds is #11 Hurricane Debbie, an eight-length winner at Keeneland for Ward April 14.