Wayne Catalano trained Aloha West to an upset win in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), and now will be making a return trip to that race next month with Manny Wah after the six-year-old continued a string of longshot winners on opening day of Keeneland‘s fall meet Friday in the $350,000 Phoenix S. (G2).
The six-furlong Phoenix, America’s oldest stakes and a “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep for the Nov. 5 Sprint at Keeneland, in fact was dominated by longshots. Manny Wah, who trailed the field of eight until the stretch, made a winning rally up the inside to edge 19-1 chance Long Range Toddy by a neck under Corey Lanerie.
“Turning for home, to be honest with you, I didn’t know if I was going to catch them, but when he saw that last little hole, he hit another gear and he was going to get home,” Lanerie said.
Finishing third was 14-1 shot Top Gunner, who drifted in the final furlong after building up a two-length lead. Sibelius, the 7-5 favorite, finished fourth and was followed by Baytown Bear, Necker Island, Sir Alfred James, and 2021 Phoenix winner Special Reserve.
Owned by Susan Moulton, Manny Wah returned $37.14 after completing the course in 1:10.31 over a fast track.
The Phoenix was just the fifth win in 34 starts, and second stakes victory, for Manny Wah, his previous black type triumph coming in the 2021 Duncan F. Kenner S. at Fair Grounds. Manny Wah has 10 other stakes placings to his credit, including the Malibu (G1) and Lecomte (G3) in 2019, and the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) in 2020.
“This horse had a lot of bad luck along his routes. He could have won a few more races,” Catalano said.
An earner of $791,355, Manny Wah was bred in Kentucky by Martha Jane Mulholland and Modo Tesio Equine. By Will Take Charge, Manny Wah is out of the stakes-winning Battlefield Angel, a Proud Citizen full sister to Grade 3 winner Blended Citizen and a half-sister to stakes winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Lookin At Lee.