Mon, 09/30/2019 - 10:08

Alpha Sixty Six
First-crop sire Liam’s Map (Unbridled’s Song) has caught fire in the last couple of weeks, siring his second ‘TDN Rising Star’ at Belmont Saturday in the form of Alpha Sixty Six just five days after another son of his, Basin, ran away with the GI Runhappy Hopeful S. at Saratoga. A $400,000 KEESEP yearling acquisition, Paul Pompa, Jr.’s Alpha Sixty Six showed an upbeat worktab at the Spa (click for XBTV video of Aug. 11 breeze), and was backed down to even-money favoritism facing what appeared to be a strong bunch of juvenile maiden colts. Off slowest of the seven from his outside draw, the big bay was hustled along by John Velazquez to sit in midpack behind a :23.01 opening quarter. He inched closer while three deep midway on the bend, and asserted at the quarter pole. Second timer Hemlock (Into Mischief) got the run of the race when the rail opened up at the head of the lane, but Alpha Sixty Six gobbled up ground late with big, powerful strides to prevail by a neck in 1:16.60 for the 6 1/2 furlongs. There was a gap of eight back to Unprecented (Bayern), who was fourth in his debut at the Spa. According to Trakus data, the winner covered 30 ft. (approximately 3 1/2 lengths) more than the runner-up. Alpha Sixty Six is the third winner and second ‘Rising Star’ for Liam’s Map, whose daughter Wicked Whisper–a $500,000 KEESEP yearling herself–dominated fillies upstate Aug. 25. Liam’s Map was a ‘Rising Star‘, and Alpha Sixty Six is the second ‘Rising Star’ for trainer Todd Pletcher this week–he unveiled the highly touted Gouverneur Morris (Constitution) Sept. 2. Alpha Sixty Six is bred on a version of the same Liam’s Map–Storm Cat cross as the aforementioned Basin. His dam was stakes-placed on the dirt both sprinting and routing for Pletcher and Alpha Sixty Six’s co-breeder Overbrook Farm. A daughter of GSW Sensation (Dixie Union), Giant Sensation produced a Palace Malice colt in 2018 and a Runhappy filly in 2019. She was bred back to Liam’s Map for 2020.