Verstappen became the 110th stakes winner for WAR FRONT on Saturday when the 4-year-old won a hard-fought battle in the Elkhorn Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.
Trained by Brendan Walsh for Andrew Farm, For the People Racing Stable, and Windmill Manor Farm, Verstappen was second in his stakes debut last out at Turfway Park going 1 1/8 miles. That performance gave his connections the confidence needed to step him up to the graded stakes level on Saturday when stretching him out to 1 ½ miles – a move that would prove to be inspired by the time they crossed the line.
Racing at the back of the main pack with two horses a few lengths behind him early on, Verstappen raced relaxed under Declan Cannon field made their first loop of the turf track. The 4-year-old dropped back to second last down the backstretch but that didn’t prove to be a problem as he started to circle the field around the far turn. Grade 2 winner Red Knight stuck with him as he raced down the stretch but Verstappen grabbed the advantage inside the final sixteenth to win by a head.
Bred by Frank Hutchinson, Verstappen is the winner of nearly $450,000 in earnings with nine top three finishes in 12 starts including four victories – three of those coming in his last four starts. The gelding was a $325,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase by Stripes Stable from Eaton Sales in 2020.
Verstappen is one of two stakes performers out of stakes winner and Grade 2-placed Andromeda Galaxy, who also produced stakes placed Agua. Andromeda Galaxy is one of four stakes performers for stakes winning Arlesienne who also produced Grade 3 winner Affaire Solitaire and stakes winner Alzavoski. The family also includes Grade 1 winner Angara.
The sire of 50 Grade 1 performers in addition to his 110 stakes winners and 24 Grade 1 winners, WAR FRONT’s 61 graded stakes winners is fifth best among all active North American sires and 10th best among all active Northern Hemisphere sires.