Necker Island shot through an opening along the rail and then prevailed in a three-horse photo finish to capture the Listed Bet on Sunshine Stakes by a head at Churchill Downs Nov. 6.
It was the first career Stakes win for the four-year-old Hard Spun colt, but he has usually been productive, having finished third in both the G3 Indiana Derby and Ellis Park Derby at age three.
It was Sir Alfred James and Rough Entry that went to the front to set the early pace, as Necker Island was settled into fifth while saving ground along the inside rail. Entering the far turn, Necker Island was forced to check as Sir Alfred James was joined by Mucho to battle for the lead. Necker Island continued to skim the rail and eventually wore down those to rivals to prevail by a head over Mucho. Sir Alfred James was another neck back in third.
Necker Island was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC. He is out of the Mr. Greeley mare, Jenny’s Rocket, a full-sister to Stakes winner Greeley’s Rocket and a half to multiple Stakes winner, Laurie’s Rocket. Also found in the immediate family are Graded Stakes winners Adieu (G1), Rapport (G3) and Direct Line (G3).
Necker Island became the second Stakes winner of the afternoon for his sire, Hard Spun, after Aloha West rallied to take the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Hard Spun is also represented in 2021 by Graded Stakes winners Silver State (G1 Met Mile), Summer in Saratoga (G3) and Antoinette (G3).