Exciting colt Havana (2c Dunkirk x Missy Turtle, by Kyle’s Our Man) lived up to his big reputation when earning TDN Rising Star status for his scintillating debut win at Saratoga on Friday.
The Todd Pletcher trained grey broke fast and led throughout, cruising clear to win by two and three quarter lengths, clocking 1:06.64, which was just shy of the 5 1/2-furlong track record.
“It didn’t surprise us [Havana] broke alertly and showed speed, and I was happy to see him put in the performance he did,” said winning rider John Velazquez.
“He’s trained well enough and he ran well enough today that something like the [GI] Champagne [at Belmont Park Oct. 5] might make sense. He’s been working really good in the morning. We all liked him, and we were all wishing that when it comes to the races that he could do the same thing he’s been doing in the morning. He did it, so we’re very proud.”
Havana was a $575,000 purchase for renowned bloodstock agent Demi O’Byrne from the Barretts March 2YO Sale where he ran the fastest furlong ever recorded at that sale when low flying over a furlong in a tick over nine seconds.
Raced by Michael Tabor, John Magnier & Derrick Smith, Havana is a half-brother to stakes-placed Among the Willows from Missy Turtle, a half-sister to stakes-winners Chief J Strongbow and Egghead.
Havana is the fifth first crop winner for promising young sire Dunkirk, joining Silver Screen Lady, Chistoso, Dunkin Bend and Kendini.
An eye-catching grey, Dunkirk is a Grade I placed son of outstanding sire Unbridled’s Song, who died earlier this year.