Encino overhauls Epic Ride to take $150,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes

Several options available for the exciting son of Nyquist

Encino made his Stakes debut a winning one when he swept past favored Epic Ride in deep stretch to get the victory in the Listed $150,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park on Saturday, 2 March.

The three-year-old Nyquist colt, who has now won two of his three starts, earned 20 qualifying points toward a possible start in the G1 Kentucky Derby. All three of the colt’s races have been on the all-weather surface at Turfway Park, but connections of the Godolphin homebred indicated that he could try his luck on the dirt sooner rather than later. Of course, one of the options open to Encino would be a return start in the G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway on 23 March.

Patiently handled by jockey Axel Concepcion, Encino rated in fifth, content to track pacesetter Bolt at Midnight through the early stages of the race. As the field entered the far turn, Bolt at Midnight began to fade as Blue Eyed George and Epic Ride moved into contention. 

Epic Ride took the lead at the top of the stretch, but Encino was hot on his heels and quickly drew alongside to challenge Epic Ride for the lead. Encino hit another gear and put that rival away, eventually crossing the wire a length in front. Epic Ride had to settle for second, with Blue Eyed George hanging on for third.

Encino was bred in Kentucky and is out of Glittering Jewel, a winning daughter of Bernardini. Glittering Jewel is a half-sister to Champion (and Darley sire), Street Sense, and to the Stakes winner Elusive Sparkle (by Elusive Quality).

In addition to Encino, Nyquist is also the sire of another talented three-year-old colt, the undefeated Nysos, winner of both the G3 Robert B. Lewis and G3 Bob Hope Stakes so far this year. In 2023, Nyquist was represented by such standouts as the filly Randomized, winner of the G1 Alabama and Slow Down Andy, winner of the G1 Awesome Again Stakes. Nyquist also sired G2 Mother Goose winner Xigera and G2 Amsterdam winner, New York Thunder.

Nyquist is standing the 2024 breeding season at Jonabell Farm for $85,000, stands and nurses.