Special Reserve delivers as the favorite in Keeneland’s G2 Phoenix Stakes

Midshipman gelding punches his ticket to the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint

Special Reserve locked in his spot in next month’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar after holding off the late bid from Aloha West to win the G2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes by a neck at Keeneland Oct. 8.

The Phoenix victory was the second Graded Stakes win for the five-year-old Midshipman gelding; he also captured the G3 Maryland Sprint Match Series Stakes at Pimlico in May. Special Reserve led home a Darley-sired exacta in the Phoenix, as Aloha West (by Hard Spun) came up just a neck short of his rival.

Special Reserve broke alertly and quickly took the lead out of the starting gate but was then settled just off the pace in second by jockey Joel Rosario. The duo tracked Quick Tempo through the opening quarter-mile before taking over the lead on the far turn. Special Reserve turned back a challenge from Just Might at the top of the lane, then held off the late bid from Aloha West to earn the victory.

Bred in Kentucky by Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc., Special Reserve is out Love Spun, by Hard Spun. Love Spun is a half-sister to multiple Stakes winner Humor at Last and to Original Spin, winner of the G3 Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes and who was G1-placed in both the Test Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Special Reserve is one of four Graded Stakes winners for his sire in 2021. In addition to the Phoenix winner, Midshipman is the sire of Royal Ship (G2 Californian), Naval Laughter (G3 Modesty Stakes) and Kopenhagen (G3 Grande Premio Parana in Brazil).