In a near gate-to-wire fashion, Nuncio won the 122nd edition of the $435,000 Kentucky Futurity at The Red Mile on Sunday.
Nuncio battled divisional leader and stablemate Father Patrick down the stretch for the victory.
John Campbell sent Nuncio straight to the lead, while Father Patrick sat in the pocket, and Hillustrious kept up in third. Nuncio rolled by the quarter in :27.2, then progressed to the half in :54.1 (:26.4).
Father Patrick soon nipped Campbell's helmet, and Yannick Gingras signaled for Father Patrick to make his move around the far turn. The two hooked up in the most anticipated battle of the afternoon, with Father Patrick having the nose advantage in a 1:22.2 (:28.1) third quarter.
Father Patrick appeared to have put away Nuncio, but the 9/5-second choice emerged in front at the eighth pole. Nuncio, who finished second in the Hambletonian this year, finally got his turn in the spotlight, winning the Kentucky Futurity in 1:51.3 (:29.1). Il Sogno Dream was third and Lightning Force was fourth.
The sophomore son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane is owned by Stall Tz Inc., and trained by Jimmy Takter. Nuncio, earning $1,488,970 in his career, returned $5.80 to win, with the $2 exacta returning $7.20.
Trainer Jimmy Takter also won the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity with Shake It Cerry earlier in the card.
Takter, who trains Nuncio and Father Patrick, said the two horses would not compete together until the Breeders Crown.