March 24, 2023

Bobby’s Wicked One back with a vengeance in Thanksgiving Classic

Bobby's Wicked One wins the Thanksgiving Classic at Fair Grounds 2019
Bobby's Wicked One wins the 2019 Thanksgiving Classic at Fair Grounds (Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir)

Runner-up to Mitole in the Churchill Downs S. (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day, Bobby’s Wicked One rediscovered that spark in the opening day feature at Fair Grounds. The 3-5 favorite blasted from pillar to post in the $100,000 Thanksgiving Classic, albeit after half of his rivals were scratched.

The original field of five was reduced to three when Wilbo stayed home at Churchill (and won Thursday’s 6TH race) and the long-absent Sonic Mule was withdrawn. That left Whereshetoldmetogo and Tringale as the opposition, and Bobby’s Wicked One was simply too fast to catch.

Trained by Al Stall Jr. and with regular pilot Miguel Mena aboard, the son of Speightstown blitzed through fractions of :21.66 and :44.30. Whereshetoldmetogo chased in second until unable to go the pace any longer, and Bobby’s Wicked One spurted away from him in the stretch. Tringale then picked up the pursuit and reduced the gap to three lengths without posing a serious threat.

Bobby’s Wicked One reeled off six furlongs in a sprightly 1:08.68, not far off the 1:08.03 track record established by Mountain General in the 2002 running (under its original name as the Thanksgiving H.).

“He broke well and I was just along for the ride today,” Mena said. “This horse when he breaks well is hard to beat. He had that rough start at Churchill (when eighth in the November 2 Bet on Sunshine) but with a good break today and as fresh as he is, I knew I had a ton of horse under me.”

“I knew he was going to be fresh,” Stall said of this second start off the layoff, “and I’m glad he put in this race. We know how good he is and those last few races are not indicative of what this horse can do. I’m really proud of him and happy with this performance.”

Bobby’s Wicked One, who just missed in last year’s Steel Valley Sprint, reached another level during the 2018-19 Fair Grounds season. The Autumn Hill Farms Racing Stables colorbearer romped in back-to-back allowances at the historic New Orleans oval and transferred that form to Kentucky in the spring. He broke through with a first stakes score in the Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland before placing a game second to Mitole.

His progress was interrupted by trying turf in the June 1 Mighty Beau, where he wound up a troubled last, and headed to the sidelines for five months. As Mena noted, Bobby’s Wicked One was compromised by a bobbling start in the Bet on Sunshine, but he was back with a vengeance here.

“We have a lot of options with him now,” Stall added. “We can keep him here and run in a few stakes races which we’ll probably end up doing.”

Bobby’s Wicked One, who paid $3.40 to win in a race with no place and show wagering, sports a mark of 14-5-4-1, $484,257. The chestnut placed in his first two stakes appearances at three, in the Big Drama and Steel Valley Sprint, and concluded 2018 with a fifth in the Malibu (G1).

Bred by Ramona S. Bass LLC in Kentucky, Bobby’s Wicked One brought $130,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September. The May 17 foal was produced by the Ghostzapper mare Wicked Charm, herself a half to champion and noted sire English Channel.