French Wine Delivers on Debut in Kentucky Sires Stakes

The millionaire French Wine worked a pocket ride and prevailed on his seasonal bow in the second $50,000 division of Kentucky Sire Stakes (KYSS) for 4-year-old trotting horses and geldings on a stakes-packed Monday (April 22) at Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel. 

Sent the odds-on favorite, French Wine powered to a brief lead after a :27.2 first quarter before yielding control to Ari Ferrari J (driven by Andy McCarthy). Ari Ferrari J carved uncontested fractions of :57.1 and 1:25.4 before coming under siege into the homestretch. French Wine found room in the closing stages to angle from the pocket and dash to a neck victory over a fast-closing Djimon (David Miller). Ari Ferrari J settled for third and Prince Of Honor (Todd McCarthy) skimmed up the pylons for fourth. 

Julie Miller trains French Wine, a 4-year-old stallion by Bar Hopping, for owners Andy Miller Stable Inc., Daniel Plouffe, Jean Plouffe and One Legend Stable Inc. He won his ninth race from 29 starts and has now banked $1,032,194 and paid $3.40 to win. 

Sparks Fly (Atlee Bender) dazzled in the other division for trotting males with a 1:54.2 win. Bender found a second-over ride from 2-1 favorite Talent Scout (Todd McCarthy) after The Hazelton (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) rung splits of :27 and :56.4. Talent Scout advanced along the rim up the backside but broke stride past three-quarters in 1:25.2, forcing Sparks Fly wide through the final turn. Despite the interference, Sparks Fly regathered momentum and motored to the lead in the stretch to post a three-quarter-length win over pocket-puller Buddy Earl (David Miller). Country Dagger (Andy McCarthy) rallied off a pylon trip for third and Over And Back (Emanuel Miller) grabbed fourth. 

A gelding by Bar Hopping, Sparks Fly won his eighth race from 19 starts this season and has now earned $111,450 for owners Ervin Miller Stable Inc. and Douglas Overhiser. Erv Miller trains the $6.98 winner. 

The pacing horses and geldings also sparred in a pair of $50,000 KYSS divisions. Admiral Hill (David Miller) opened the afternoon fulfilling a 1-2 promise with a 1:50.2 effort. Miller bided his time off the speed cut by Tip Top Cat (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) through fractions of :27 and :56 before making his move. He flushed Combustion (Todd McCarthy) first over to three-quarters in 1:23.3 and stayed steady through the final turn before bursting through the stretch with in a :26 final quarter to win under wraps by three-quarter lengths. Tip Top Cat held second from For Once Inmy Life (Andy McCarthy) and Combustion faded to fourth. 

Admiral Hill won his 11th race from 28 starts and has now banked $322,008. Per Engblom trains the Sweet Lou gelding for owner Morrison Racing Stables. He paid $3.10 to win. 

Odds-on choice El Rey (David Miller) scored in the other division for pacing males with a first-over powerhouse effort to win in 1:51.1. Miller sat third with El Rey while Bamboozler (Tony Hall) led the field through opening fractions of :27.1 and :56.4. El Rey got his cue to go up the backside and began advancing after Bamboozler approaching three-quarters in 1:24.2. Upon straightening, El Rey slid to the lead with ease and pulled ahead to a half-length victory at the beam. Blue Lou (Todd McCarthy) slipped up the inside for second with Bamboozler finishing third and The Good Doctor (Ronnier Wrenn Jr.) fourth. 

Andrew Harris trains and co-owns El Rey, a 4-year-old stallion by Captaintreacherous, for owners William Pollock and Bruce Areman. El Rey won for the ninth time from 33 tries and has now earned $565,850. He paid $3.36 to win.

Mambacita (Marvin Luna) bagged the sole $50,000 dash for trotting mares with a 1:53.3 front-stepping effort. Though pocketed to the first quarter in :27.1, Luna circled Mambacita to the lead and kept chugging through first-over pressure coming from Canterbury Hanover (Tony Hall) past a :56.4 half and to three-quarters in 1:25. Mambacita accelerated in the stretch to a 2-1/4-length victory under minimal encouragement over Canterbury Hanover while Railee Something (Andy McCarthy) rallied mildly from a second-over trip for third and Picaboo Lady (Joey Putnam) took fourth. 

A daughter of Tactical Landing, Mambacita has now won 12 times from 32 starts and earned $820,418 for owners Alagna Racing LLC, Crawford Farms Racing and Pryde Stables Inc. Tony Alagna trains the $3.52 winner.

Zanatta (Andy Miller) landed a mild upset in the single $50,000 KYSS division for pacing mares with a pocket-popping strike on 2-5 favorite Always B Naughty (Andy McCarthy) in 1:50.4. Always B Naughty grabbed the lead to a :27 first quarter and kept the fractions honest to a :55.3 half and three-quarters in 1:22.4. Zanatta though continued to follow in tow with interest and swelled into the straightaway waiting for room to race. Andy Miller fenangled Zanatta out of the pocket and took aim at Always B Naughty, collaring her rival by a neck at the finish. Keep My Secret (Tony Hall) persisted through a first-over move for third and Hungry For Love (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) travelled a second-over trip for fourth. 

Jenn Bongiorno conditions Zanatta, a daughter of Stay Hungry, for owner One Legend Stable Inc. She won her seventh race from 32 starts and has now earned $642,572. She paid $12.84 to win. 

A $30,000 Open Pace was also featured on the stakes undercard and went the way of 5-2 favorite He’zzz A Wise Sky (Brandon Bates) in 1:51.1. Bates took over the lead past a :26 first quarter and coasted through a :54.4 half and 1:22.3 three-quarters to win by a length in 1:51.1 and collect his 52nd win from 113 starts. John Filomeno trains the $730,729 earner for owner Triple Zzz Stable. He paid $7.52 to win.

Live racing resumes at Oak Grove Tuesday (April 23) at 3 p.m. (CDT). Free program pages for every race day, courtesy of TrackMaster, are available on the Oak Grove Racing website (

Admiral Hill with David Miller winning the first division of KYSS for 4-year-old pacing horses and geldings
French Wine (6) with Andy Miller winning the first division of KYSS for 4-year-old trotting horses and geldings