BLAME’s Officiating won his second Grade 3 in his last three starts on Saturday when the 4-year-old Vegso Racing Stable homebred won the Tom Fool Handicap (G3) by a commanding 5 ½ lengths.
The six-furlong dirt race saw him shadow last year’s Tom Fool winner Chateau around Aqueduct with Prime Factor adding a challenge when floating him four wide three furlongs from home. Manny Franco didn’t let up on his mount, asking Officiating to continue his march to the lead.
He drew alongside Chateau as they entered the final furlong and in that final stage of the race started to pull away with every stride to win by 5 ½ lengths with the third pace finisher a farther 1 ¼ lengths behind.
Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., the BLAME son now has 11 top three finishes in 16 starts for over $331,000 in earnings. Included in that total are three stakes victories and five stakes placings overall in six stakes attempts.
“It was very exciting,” Joseph said. “He cut back to six furlongs for the first time and he wasn’t outpaced. He was always in a handy spot. I was sure at the top of the lane he was going to kick in because he was cutting back in distance, and he did just that. I’m very proud of the horse.”
The trainer indicated that the Carter Handicap (G1) would likely be Officiating’s next start.
Officiating is a half-brother to 2017 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Caledonia Road and to stakes winning One Of A Kind with the trio out of a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Citizen Advocate. This is also the family of WAR FRONT’s Grade 1 winning Data Link and Arch’s Grade 1 winning Hymn Book among others.
Consistently a top sire year after year, BLAME has 38 worldwide stakes winners, with at least one in every crop, and a 16.23% stakes performer strike rate.