McShane Racing's Stubbins was able to work out a clean trip from last-to-first in Saturday's Grade 2 Woodward, pulling away to win by about three-quarters of a length at 7-1. It was the first graded stakes win for the 3-year-old son of Morning Line, ridden by Joel Rosario for trainer Doug O'Neill. Stubbins completed 5 1/2 furlongs over Keeneland's firm turf in 1:01.44.
Most recently second in the G3 Franklin-Simpson at Kentucky Downs, Stubbins was dead last in the nine-horse field down the backstretch. He wove his way between horses in the lane and split rivals in the stretch, getting clear near the eighth pole and running down Leinster at the wire. Favorite Imprimis was blocked in mid-stretch and had to settle for third, while Smart Remark finished fourth.
“Today, it looked like there was good speed in front,” Rosario said. “There was good speed at Kentucky Downs, too, but it was a bit different – the horse that won (Legends of War) had a tremendous race. (My horse) came running and was a good second. Today, he came running and put in a good run there at the end. I tried to stay in (on the rail in the turn). I was saving ground and then when I had some room was able to turn him loose.”
Bred in Kentucky by Patrick and Brittney Durtschi, Stubbins was a $130,000 purchase at the OBS March juvenile sale. He won the listed Pasadena Stakes earlier this year, and ran sixth in the UAE Derby before returning stateside. Overall, Stubbins' record stands at four wins from nine starts for earnings of over $400,000.
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