In an exciting side-by-side dual, which took a photo finish to sort out the winner, My Sonny Boy was able to hold off Princeville Condo in an exciting stretch run to win the Black Tie Affair Handicap by a nose at Arlington Park on Saturday, June 19, 2010.
On hand for the 1 1/16th mile turf race for Illinois Bred thoroughbreds was Michael Blowen, President and Founder of Old Friends, a retirement farm for thoroughbreds in Georgetown, Ky., where the race’s namesake, Black Tie Affair is enjoying his retirement. Blowen was there to award the trophy to the winning horse’s representatives after the race.
Jockey Tim Thornton, who rode the 6-year old son of Royal Academy to the win in 1.45:24., told reporters that he let the horse decide how to run the race.
“I just let him relax,” Thornton said after the race. “I didn’t want to send him and get into a speed duel. I followed (race favorite) Free Fighter (who finished sixth) around there and when he started to get into a little trouble, I angled outside of him. When I made the lead he kind of wanted to pull up a little bit but he felt the other come on back again and he kept on trying.”
With the victory, My Sonny Boy (profile) improves his record to six wins in 23 starts and $214,083 in career earnings.
Bullbuck, a 70-1 long shot, took the lead at the start of the race, and held it until the final turn, when Mr. Mischief pulled alongside him and then edged in front. My Sonny Boy stayed at the rear of the eight-horse pack for most of the race, with Princeville Condo just a little ahead of him.
Coming around that final turn, both My Sonny Boy and Princeville Condo (profile) began to make their moves, with My Sonny Boy going five wide around the turn, while Princeville Condo was just inside of him going four-wide.
Coming down the stretch, My Sonny Boy took a slight lead over Princeville Condo, but the two stayed side-by-side all the way down the stretch. At the wire, My Sonny Boy defeated Princeville Condo by just a head-bob to win the race by a nose in a photo finish. Seven-year old Gentleman Chester (profile), who won the Black Tie Affair Handicap two years ago and finished second in the race last year, finished third this time around.
My Sonny Boy, who went off at 11-1 odds, paid $25.20, $9.00 and $4.40, while 3-1 Prineville Condo returned $42.0 and $3.00. Gentleman Chester paid $4.00. The $2.00 exacta handed out a $117.40 payoff, while the 50 cent trifecta paid $133.50.
The Black Tie Affair Handicap is named after the 1991 Horse of the Year and Champion Older Horse, Black Tie Affair (profile)
He earned those awards after a stellar year on the track, which saw him win seven stakes races, which included the Philip H. Iselin Handicap (gr. 1), Washington Park Handicap (gr. 2), Michigan Mile & One-Eighth handicap (gr. 2), Cornhusker Handicap (gr. 3), Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. 2) and Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. 3). He closed out the year with a wire-to-wire win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. 1), which helped him lock up the awards.
In his career, the son of Miswaki entered the starting gate 45 times. He won 18 times, finished second nine times and third six times, while collecting $3,370,694 in prize money.
As a sire, he stood in both the United States and Japan. He was a successful sire, with two of his top offspring being Formal Gold and Evening Attire.
Formal Gold (profile) won eight races in 16 starts and $1,533,600 in prize money. His top wins included the Donn Handicap, Woodward Stake, Iselin Stakes and Brooklyn Handicap. Evening Attire (profile) raced 69 times, winning 15 times with $2,977,130 in career earnings. Among his top wins were the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Saratoga Handicap (two times), Aqueduct Handicap, Red Smith Handicap, Stuyvesant Handicap and queens County Handicap (three times). He also won the Greenwood Cup at 10-years old.
With age and arthritis catching up to him, Black Tie Affair was pensioned to Old Friends in 2009. Since then, he has been treated for a bad hind leg, melanoma and other age-related infirmities by some of the top veterinarians in the Lexington-Georgetown area. As a result, the now 34-year old stallion is in good condition. He enjoys spending his days in the Kentucky sunshine and being fed carrots by all who pass by, while resting comfortably in his stall each evening.
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