Long On Value Make Triumphant Rally in Highlander Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 1st, 2018

Since his debut back in 2013, Long On Value has seemingly done it all. There was a time when he appeared to have a bright future as a sprinter on dirt; then, he underwent a transformation and turned into an effective miler on turf.

Now, at the age of seven, Long On Value has combined his two fortes and reemerged as a sprinter on turf. His versatility was rewarded on Saturday when he unleashed a tremendous turn-of-foot to turn to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the Highlander Stakes (gr. I) at Woodbine.

No one can say he didn’t work for it. Partway through the race, Long On Value found himself boxed in behind horses with nowhere to run, and jockey Florent Geroux had to wait before guiding Long On Value to the outside near the top of the stretch. By that point, the fast filly Lady Alexandra had sprinted to the lead and looked impossible to catch.

But Long On Value’s miler stamina came in handy, and he just kept chugging away in the final furlong. Despite being in seventh place passing the eighth pole, with four lengths to make up on the leader, Long On Value kept edging closer and closer until finally—in the shadow of the wire—he found a little something extra and surged pasted Lady Alexander to win by a neck, stopping the clock in a rapid 1:07.13.
That victory brought Long On Value’s record this year to a perfect 2-for-2 and earned him in a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs this November. And lest anyone think that the 5 ½-furlong distance of the Turf Sprint might be too short for Long On Value, take heart—on June 2nd, he won the Mighty Beau Stakes at Churchill going a mere five furlongs.

The Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint division is historically wide-open and competitive, but four months out, Long On Value has certainly stamped himself as a deserving early favorite. With his terrific turn-of-foot, proven affinity for Churchill Downs, and his unquestionable versatility, Long On Value’s best days might still be ahead of him—not bad for a horse that’s seven years old!

The speedy Lady Alexandra also impressed with her game runner-up effort, especially considering that she pushed a fast early pace that included a blazing second quarter-mile in :21.11 seconds. Meanwhile, the capable Holding Gold showed no speed and dropped back to last early on, but came running through traffic in to final furlong to pick up the pieces and finish third, beaten 1 ¾ lengths for victory. All three of the top finishers can be considered major players in the turf sprint division this year.