A half-brother to two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) champion Stormy Liberal, Leinster boosted his credentials for the Nov. 7 renewal at Keeneland by taking Saturday’s $150,000 Shakertown Stakes (G2) in record time over the course. The 10-1 shot held the late lunge of 7-1 stablemate Totally Boss, giving trainer Rusty Arnold the exacta while zipping 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:00.86.
Leinster was setting his second career course record, after capturing last summer’s Troy (G3) in 1:00.23 at Saratoga. And he’d come very close in his last Keeneland appearance, just succumbing to Stubbins in the Oct. 5 Woodford (G2) in 1:00.44. Leinster’s progress was interrupted with a seventh in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita, but he’s entitled to be better this campaign as a 5-year-old.
Breaking from post 12 with Tyler Gaffalione, Leinster flashed enough speed to sit fourth as the 3-1 Bound to Nowhere ripped through an opening quarter in :21.16 on the firm course. The leader put away his early attendant Tiger Blood after a half in :43.55 and edged clear in the stretch, only to have Leinster pounce.
Then Totally Boss zoomed from further off the pace to add late drama. Arnold could rest assured that he had the winner however the photo went, but quipped afterward that a dead-heat would have been ideal.
Leinster kept his head in front of Totally Boss, so Arnold had to make do with a one-two result. Bound for Nowhere, the 2018 winner who was just denied last year, sustained another near-miss a neck away in third. Fast Boat got up for fourth, followed by Extravagant Kid; Tell Your Daddy; Corruze; Tiger Blood; Just Might; Texas Wedge; Real News; Shared Legacy; and slight 3-1 favorite Wildman Jack, who surprisingly trailed throughout.
Campaigned by Amy Dunne, Brenda Miley, Westrock Stables, and Jean Wilkinson, Leinster has bankrolled $524,211 from a 21-4-6-4 line. His record doesn’t reflect his ability, since he spent about the first half of his career toiling on the dirt for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. Leinster discovered his turf sprint specialty after joining Arnold for 2019, and he quickly developed from maiden winner to notable player in the division. Leinster reappeared with a second to Extravagant Kid in a 5-furlong turf allowance at Churchill Downs May 29 and improved for the tightener.
Leinster was bred by Gryphon Investments in Kentucky and initially sold for $85,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling. The bay was offered by Ciaran and Amy Dunne’s Wavertree Stables at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May, where he RNA’d for $75,000 and ended up staying with Amy.
By Majestic Warrior and out of the Royal Academy mare Vassar, Leinster is not only a half to Stormy Liberal, the champion turf male of 2018, but also to Grade 1-placed sire Coast Guard and multiple Grade 3-placed stakes winner Shimmering Moment.