July 16, 2024

Society Man caps banner weekend for Gargan in Matt Winn; Easy for Emery in Leslie’s Lady

Society Man rallied to his first stakes score in the Matt Winn
Society Man rallied to his first stakes score in the Matt Winn (Photo by Coady Media)

On Saturday, Dornoch turned the page on his Kentucky Derby (G1) disappointment to score a gritty upset in the Belmont (G1). On Sunday, trainer Danny Gargan’s other Derby also-ran, Society Man, likewise bounced back to capture the $395,000 Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs.

The parallel extends further. They share a co-owner, West Paces Racing, and the same sire, for both Society Man and Dornoch are by champion Good Magic. Unlike Dornoch, Society Man is a gelding, so he’s eligible to stick around quite a while on the racetrack.

Matt Winn (G3)

Campaigned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing in partnership with West Paces, GMP Stables, and Carl and Yurie Pascarella, Society Man was on an upward curve before the Derby. He rolled from off the pace to break his maiden at Aqueduct March 9 and followed up with a second, at odds of 106-1, in the Wood Memorial (G2). After a non-threatening 16th in the Run for the Roses with Frankie Dettori, the chestnut found the Matt Winn a more realistic spot to earn his first stakes win.

New rider Corey Lanerie settled the 6.39-1 chance near the back of the pack, in a ground-saving seventh, behind a contested pace. Northern Flame showed in front through the opening quarter in :24.20, prompted by West Saratoga. But 7-5 favorite Who Dey bulled his way between them to grab the lead and posted the half in :47.37. Then Rocketeer advanced out wide to head Who Dey and West Saratoga at the six-furlong mark in 1:11.69.

Just when Rocketeer tried to forge clear of a game Who Dey, Society Man swung out to challenge and mowed them down by 2 1/2 lengths. He clocked 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.33 and returned $14.78.

Who Dey battled on to save second by a nose from late-running Next Level. Rocketeer came back to earth in fourth, another three-quarters of a length adrift. There was a 10 1/4-length gap to West Saratoga, trailed by Mighty Message, Northern Flame, and Luna Tap, who veered wide into the clubhouse turn.

Nash and Scatify were scratched after opting for other spots on opposite sides of the country. While Nash was a troubled ninth in the Woody Stephens (G1) at Saratoga, Scatify was a distant second in the Affirmed (G3) at his Santa Anita base.

Society Man’s scorecard now stands at 7-2-1-1, $437,230. The $85,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock.

“He was on the bit and looked great in the paddock,” Lanerie reported. “I could tell he was ready to go.

“This was the first time I rode him, but I was able to study his previous races on paper and the replays. Danny didn’t give me any instructions on how to ride him.

“I was a little bit further back than I thought we’d be, but around the three-eighths pole, I lowered my hands, and he took me where I needed to be. I was able to get clear at the eighth-pole and he took off. He was fun to ride.

“Down the backside, as far as I was out of it, I got a little bit worried,” Lanerie admitted. “When it was time to go, though, he was ready.

“He’s shown he’s been able to do a couple of things in his career and has some different dimensions. The way he was able to relax today it showed me he doesn’t have a problem with longer distances than this.”

That’s as you’d expect for a son of the stakes-placed Colonel John mare You Cheated. This is also the family of Grade 2-winning turf sprinter Bay Storm, who has more immediate speed influences in her pedigree.

“I’m very grateful to Danny and his whole team for the opportunity to ride him,” Lanerie concluded. “He and his team had a big weekend. I’m glad to have played a small part in it.”

Leslie’s Lady Overnight S.

Emery outclassed her rivals in the Leslie’s Lady Overnight S. (Photo by Coady Media)

Earlier on the card, Stonestreet Stables’ Emery readily justified odds-on favoritism in the $170,450 Leslie’s Lady Overnight S. Trained by Brad Cox and confidently handled by Tyler Gaffalione, the sophomore filly breezed in last-to-first fashion by 3 1/2 lengths. Emery polished off seven furlongs in a sharp 1:22.46.

Tambo was best of the rest in a strung-out field. Next came Legadema, Charlene’s Dream, and the tailed-off Moonlit Lady, who sped through fractions in :22.74 and :45.57. Blue Squall and Pink Lady Lu Sha were withdrawn.

Emery advanced her record to 3-for-4 with $256,298 in earnings. Her impressive debut at Saratoga last summer made her the favorite in the one-mile Frizette (G1), but she retreated to fourth behind divisional champion Just F Y I. Emery wasn’t seen again until an April 19 allowance at Keeneland, where she dropped back to six furlongs and romped. Her performance in the Leslie’s Lady suggests that she’s ready to step up in class again.

“She’s a very classy filly,” Gaffalione said. “She traveled so nicely today, and I was just trying to stay out of her way. Her ears were up down the lane and I had plenty of horse left.”

“She’s a fairly easy filly to train,” assistant Trace Messina said, “and always does her job in the mornings. Tyler kept her out of trouble today, and she traveled very easily around the turn. It was impressive seeing her draw away while under a hand ride in the stretch.”

Bred by Mary K. Grum in Kentucky, Emery was sold for $235,000 as a weanling at Keeneland November. The dark bay is a daughter of More Than Ready and multiple stakes vixen Athena, by Street Sense.