LEA’s Nagirroc proved trainer Graham Motion’s decision to step him up to stakes company one start after breaking his maiden was a smart one with a determined victory in the Futurity Stakes (G3).
Racing over six furlongs on the outer turf at Aqueduct, Nagirroc raced in third just a little over a length behind the leader. He stayed in that position throughout the early running before tipping out around the turn when Manny Franco started hustling him.
Nagirroc made a serious challenge in the final furlong and took the lead in the shadow of the wire to prove the most determined runner of a fivehorse photo finish with his winning margin sitting at a neck.
“I think he’s a smart horse and he doesn’t have to be on the lead,” said Franco. “The pace scenario was more speed today. I don’t want my horse coming from a short [rest] to run today and get him in a speed duel. I just wanted to give him a chance behind the horses and it set up perfect for me.”
It’s the second career victory in three starts for Nagirroc, who took his earnings to $141,500. This victory gives him a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) at Keeneland next month.
Owned by Madaket Stables, Little Red Feather Racing, and William Strauss, Nagirroc was bred in Kentucky by Chervenell Thoroughbreds.
Nagirroc is a half-brother to stakes-placed De Guiza with the pair two of the three winners from four to run out of Emma Spencer. That mare is a half-sister to Group 1-placed Mythical and Johann Strauss and Grade 3-placed Inchargeofme.
Nagirroc’s victory gives the FIRST SAMURAI sireline a juvenile stakes double this weekend with LEA’s sire registering his own stakes winner in Ontario.