Sport Pepper 10th Winner for Classic Empire
A consistent placer at Arlington Park, Classic Empire’s Sport Pepper (2g Classic Empire x Le Mi Geaux, by First Samurai) recorded a Maiden Special Weight victory at the track on Saturday.
Entered to run a mile on the turf, the Kerry Zavash runner started awkwardly but immediately straightened out to take the lead alongside another runner. Those two horses kept over a length on the rest of the field as they swapped the lead between each other.
E T Baird looked comfortable on his mount and showed why as they raced into the last furlong.
Sport Pepper quickly pulled away to win by an easy 2 ½ lengths for owner and trainer Kerry Zavash.
It was the third on-the-board finish in five starts for the George Ruggiero-bred gelding, who was a $250,000 Keeneland November weanling in 2019.
The juvenile is one of two winners out of Grade III winner Le Mi Geaux, who is a full sister to stakes-placed Yari. His granddam is the stakes winning Message Red, who is one of three stakes performer for her own dam Redeye Rain. The family also includes Grade I winner Palm Hut among others.
Third among all freshmen by number of stakes performers with four, Classic Empire now has 10 winners overall.