Two days out from the anniversary of his first career winner, trainer Ben Colebrook watched — and appropriately celebrated — as his charge Sparkling Review further raised the bar on his list of milestone moments.
Less than two years after going out on his own, Colebrook can claim a graded stakes victory on his résumé as Sparkling Review overhauled a field of 11 other 3-year-old fillies Friday to capture the Grade III, $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View by a widening 23/4 lengths over the Keeneland turf.
Colebrook has been a fixture at Keeneland for years, having previously worked as an assistant to trainer Christophe Clement. As joyful as he was when he led over his first career winner, Mt Tronador, at the picturesque track on Oct. 19, 2013, it paled to the raucous display he put on as Sparkling Review advanced just behind A Little Bit Sassy around the final turn and swept up to take command in midstretch in what was her first try against stakes company.
"I could see she was going better than everybody else (at the sixteenth pole). I might have started celebrating a little bit early," Colebrook said. "I was pretty confident in her. When Julien (jockey Leparoux) worked her in the morning she worked so well for him, and for him to agree to ride her after that ... that gave me even more confidence.
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"I knew we had a decent filly but it was a very tough field. She surprised me by the ease she did it today, but she didn't surprise me that she won."
Owned by Beverly Anderson and Edward Seltzer, who also bred the filly, Sparkling Review was slightly overlooked at odds of 7-to-1 in a field that included Grade I winner Rosalind as well as graded stakes winners Size and A Little Bit Sassy.
It's not because the bay daughter of Lemon Drop Kid has done much wrong in her four-race career to date. Since debuting on the dirt at Churchill Downs this June, a fifth-place run going 61/2 furlongs, Sparkling Review is now unbeaten in three tries on the turf having previously won going a mile at Arlington Park on Aug. 9 and at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 6.
"She didn't come to me until later this summer and when she came to me she actually cut herself, cut her knee. But she's done everything we've ever asked of her," said Colebrook, who mentioned the Grade II Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill on Nov. 15 as a possible next target. "We ran her on the dirt ... but we knew in the back of our minds she would probably be a turf filly. She's got such a nice turn of foot."
With Spring Included setting fractions of 23.64 and 48.49, Leparoux rated Sparkling Review clear on the outside path in sixth and was able to take dead aim on the leaders with a six-wide move coming into the stretch run.
Spring Included, a 31-to-1 shot, held for second with Goldy Espony running on for third. Final time for the 11⁄16-mile test was 1:44.34 over a course rated good.
"When she broke her maiden ... very impressively at Arlington, she showed she could be that kind of filly," Colebrook said. "Today that was a good bunch of fillies that she beat."