Black Onyx burst onto the Kentucky Derby 2013 scene with a good looking stalk and pounce victory in the Grade III Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on March 23. He earned 50 Derby qualifying points and will make his next start on the first Saturday in May.
Black Onyx peaks out of his stall the morning of the Spiral Stakes
The early years
Kentucky-bred Black Onyx sold for $125,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale (August 2011).
He began his race career at Belmont Park in the fall of 2011 and finished a clear 2nd at a mile and a sixteenth and wrapped up his juvenile campaign with a flat mile maiden win at Aqueduct.
Black Onyx in the paddock prior to the Spiral Stakes.
Black Onyx’s sophomore season got off to a less than ideal start with a well-beaten 4th place finish on the main track at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day. He moved to the Kelly Breen barn and bounced back quickly with a smart turf route win at the Gulf on Feb. 23, beating subsequent Rushaway Stakes winner Crop Report.
The Sterling Racing (Sam Herzberg) colt was sent to Turfway Park for a chance to qualify for the Kentucky Derby and was sent off as a 15-1 longshot in the Grade III Spiral Stakes. Breaking from post nine, he sat a wide stalking trip under Joe Bravo before forging to the lead and crossing the line 1-1/2 lengths in front of highly regarded runner-up Uncaptured.
Black Onyx wins the Spiral Stakes!
Multiple Grade I winning sire Rock Hard Ten (Kris S.-Tersa, by Mr. Prospector) was on the Triple Crown trail in 2004, finishing 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby, 2nd in the Preakness, and 5th in the Belmont Stakes. He won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita Handicap, and Goodwood ‘Cap during his undefeated 4yo season before a foot bruise knocked him out of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. A subsequent sesamoid injury ended his racing career.
The massive stallion (17 hands) was responsible for 13 stakes winners during his first four crops. He was sold to the Korea Racing Authority in 2011 and currently stands at Jeju Stud Farm.
Dam Kalahari Cat (Cape Town-Desert Stormette, by Storm Cat) was a 3-time winner (2004-2005). She scored twice on turf against allowance competition at one mile (Fair Grounds, Hawthorne).
Dam sire Cape Town (Seeking the Gold-Seaside Attraction, by Seattle Slew) won five races in 1997-98 including the G3 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, G3 Holy Bull, and G1 Florida Derby. He finished 5th in the 1998 Kentucky Derby and 9th in the Preakness.
Cape Town is responsible for multiple stakes winners including 2003 Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town. In 2009, he was sold for stallion duty in Brazil.
Kelly Breen has saddled more than 450 winners with earnings topping the $20 million mark. He won the 2011 Belmont Stakes with Ruler On Ice and has saddled three Kentucky Derby starters (West Side Bernie, Atomic Rain, Pants On Fire).
Joe Bravo, the reigning king of the New Jersey circuit, has won more than 4,800 races during a stellar 25-year riding career. Both of his career Kentucky Derby mounts (Spanish Chestnut, Atomic Rain) finished unplaced.
Black Onyx has earned enough points to secure a spot in the starting gate under the Twin Spires on Saturday, May 4 and will immediately ship to Churchill Downs and train up to the big dance. He is an improving colt with positional speed and a strong route foundation. He has won on conventional dirt, synthetic, and turf, and might surprise again at Churchill Downs with further development.
For more Spiral Stakes day coverage and Black Onyx pictures, check out Stacy’s Kentucky horse racing photos page.