By Claire Crosby BloodHorse
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Aloha West got a confidence-booster July 2 in the $160,000 Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs, and the drop in class resulted in a return to the winner’s circle for the Hard Spun colt’s first score of 2022.
After running into a bulldozer in Flightline and finishing fourth of five last time out going a mile in the June 11 Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park, the 2021 Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner put in a game run under Joel Rosario for trainer Wayne Catalano to score by a neck over grade 3 winner Miles Ahead .
“He ran a big race, being down on the inside and having to push to stay up in there,” Catalano said. “It was a very good effort and not an easy field.”
Aloha West tangled with champion Jackie’s Warrior in his first start of the year May 7, running third in the Churchill Downs Stakes Presented by Ford (G1). The Kelly’s Landing marks his first win since a breakout victory at odds of 11-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He has been most successful running at six and seven furlongs, with the 6 1/2-furlong distance of the Kelly’s Landing clearly in his wheelhouse.
Sent off as the 4-5 choice in a 7-horse field, Aloha West raced fourth on the inside early on Saturday, just off the pace set by 6-1 shot Kneedeepinthesnow. As that rival showed the way through a :22.33 opening quarter and a half in :44.80, Rosario angled his mount out around the turn for home and wore down the frontrunner through three-quarters in 1:09.07.
“I had to ride him a little bit up into the pace today to keep his position,” Rosario echoed. “I think he got his confidence back today. He’s a very talented horse and showed his class today.”
Aloha West returned $3.80 on a $2 win ticket while improving his record to 6-2-1 from 11 starts, with earnings of $1,507,290.
“We’re glad he got his feet back underneath him today,” Catalano said. “He ran into some stiff competition in his last two starts and he was coming off the layoff. Our goal is to get him back to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Today, we started our way back by getting his confidence back.”
Robert Manfuso and Katharine Voss bred Aloha West in Maryland out of the grade 3-winning, grade 2-placed Speightstown mare Island Bound. Agent Ben Glass bought the colt at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $160,000 from the Nursery Place consignment.
Island Bound has a 2-year-old Good Samaritan filly named Little Bristol , a yearling filly by Divining Rod , and a Golden Lad colt foaled May 5. Aloha West is the most accomplished among her five starters from seven foals, four of which have been winners.