by Jeremy Plonk
December 7, 2020
Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.
October Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2020
Owner: Robert Masiella
Trainer: Tom Albertrani
Jockey: Luis Saez
Performance: Rattling off his fifth consecutive win, Fiya smoked his competition Dec. 5 in the $90,000 Claiming Crown Canterbury Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The Maryland-bred continued his perfect mark since moving to turf sprints, and zipped 5 furlongs in :55.63. He went more than 4 lengths faster than Jakarta in the filly/mare division on Claiming Crown Day. Fiya’s scores include a Belmont allowance as well as the Maryland Million Turf Sprint. The 3-year-old Friesan Fire gelding made the lead soon after the break from the rail and wired them comfortably.
On Tap: Albertrani reported after the race that Fiya would be given a break and be pointed toward a campaign later in 2021. Races like the Shakertown at Keeneland in April, May’s Churchill Downs Turf Sprint, Belmont’s Jaipur in June and Saratoga’s Troy in July would be logical goals for a turf sprinter of this repute and geographic home.
Honorable Mentions: The Grade 1 Cigar Mile finally came home to True Timber, who had been second and third in Aqueduct’s signature autumn race the past 2 years. A return date to the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream in late January should be next after this 5 1/2-length score. Meanwhile, Keeneland maiden breaker Littlestitious won Delta Downs’ Dec. 1 $100,000 My Trusty Cat Stakes by 10-1/4 lengths and stamped herself one of the mid-south’s 3-year-old fillies to watch at Fair Grounds in 2021 for Tom Amoss. Jesus’ Team found some class relief and punched out his foes in the Claiming Crown Jewel Nov. 5 at Gulfstream, following promising placings in the Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. He, too, could be headed to the Pegasus World Cup. On the 2-year-old front, Varda upset her Bob Baffert stablemates in a Nov. 5 Hollywood Starlet surprise at Los Alamitos, while New York-bred Brooklyn Strong added to his Sleepy Hollow score when scoring the Nov. 5 Remsen at Aqueduct.