Log In

Most Valuable Pony (April 20-26): Volatile

by Jeremy Plonk

April 27, 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.

April 20-26, 2020

MVP: Volatile

Owner: Phoenix Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana

Performance: In a week of stakes sprints at Oaklawn, it was an allowance performer who proved fastest of them all. The 4-year-old Volatile made his 2020 debut a rousing success April 25 in an effort that points him a possible successor to retired ex-barnmate and last year’s Champion Sprinter Mitole. Volatile crushed his foes by 7-1/2 lengths and ran 6 furlongs in 1:08.48, easily out-clocking any challenger over a very good weekend of sprint racing. The $850,000 yearling buy by Violence has won 3 of 4 lifetime starts since his July 2019 debut at Ellis Park.

On Tap: Who knows what the stakes schedule will offer in the near future? But there’s little doubt this one will have the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland in the autumn as a circle on the calendar. He’ll need to prove himself against better stakes competition, likely to come in Kentucky and New York when those venues reopen. By comparison, Mitole’s campaign to a Breeders’ Cup Sprint title included stops in the Churchill Downs Handicap, Met Mile, Vanderbilt and Forego.

Honorable Mentions: April 25 Oaklawn sprint stakes winners Mia Mischief and Long Weekend turned in exemplary efforts in the Carousel and Bachelor, respectively. Mia Mischief dominated a strong group that included Bellafina by more than 4 lengths for her 10th lifetime win. She pushed her earnings over $1.2 million. Long Weekend added to his Gazebo Stakes win at the meet by taking the Bachelor in a stretch-long throwdown over Echo Town. At Gulfstream on April 25, Dr. Post made a house call in the Unbridled Stakes for his first stakes win. The son of Quality Road and Madison winner Mary Delaney could be a late bloomer on the Derby trail for Todd Pletcher. And finally, elite 3-year-old sprinter No Parole bounced back from a failed route experiment in the Rebel to dust an April 25 Oaklawn allowance for his fourth win in five tries.