Long On Value thrives in cutback for Lucky Coin
Making his first grass start in a race as short as 5 1/2 furlongs in three years, the five-year-old traveled smoothly outside rivals near the back of the field as Beantown Saint led through an opening quarter of :22.71, tracked closely by 6-5 favorite Undrafted and Successful Native.
Entering the stretch, Beantown Saint still held the lead through a half-mile in :45.17, but was soon overtaken by Successful Native and Undrafted, who raced closer to the pace than normal and lacked a significant stretch kick because of it. Neither was able to withstand Long On Value, who swooped to the lead with a five-wide bid in upper stretch and passed the wire a length in front.
Owned by Wachtel Stable and trained by George Kerr, the Bill Mott trainee returned $8.80 after completing the distance in 1:01.76 on firm ground. Successful Native was three-quarters of a length ahead of Undrafted at the wire, with expected pace setter Spring to the Sky fourth after tossing his head at the start.
A Virginia-bred son of Value Plus, Long On Value won a state-bred stakes going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf as a juvenile, but eventually found his calling at a mile when taking the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury and the Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream, the latter his most recent victory 17 months ago. In between those scores, he earned his biggest win to date in the Twilight Derby (G2) over nine furlongs at Santa Anita on the 2014 Breeders' Cup undercard.
Chances are when he potentially returns to California in November it will be for the Turf Sprint at about 6 1/2 furlongs.
"He's been a horse to go a mile, a mile-and-an-eighth, and you have to cover him up and completely switch him off. I thought, 'Why not give him a try one time?', said Mott explaining the decison to try the Lucky Coin. "We were at the point where he's been good to us, and we had nothing to lose. This opens up options for us down the road."
(Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography)