WV-bred sophomores could kindle memorable rivalries

A trio of West Virginia-bred three-year-olds, two of which clashed January 13 in a memorable maiden special weight event, appear poised to meet in state-bred stakes races later this year, perhaps on more than one occasion.

In that maiden event, Time to Rock lived up to his role as the 3-2 favorite in a one-turn maiden special weight event for state-bred sophomore when he outfought first-timer Tapintheparade for a half-length score in 52.82 for the 4 1/2 furlongs. It was seven lengths back to the rest of the field.

Time to Rock, a sophomore son of Uncle Lino trained by Stacey Viands for owner-breeder Jill Daniel, had been an unlucky third as the 6-5 choice in his career debut last month when he missed the break and raced widest of all on the far turn. This time, jockey Arnaldo Bocachica was able to give him the inside lane to victory.

“He’s a beast,” Viands said. “He’s my next Parisian Diva. That first time out when Jose [Montano] rode him, he missed the break and then raced nine-wide on the far turn and still got third. [Trainer Javier Contreras, who trained the fourth-place finisher] told me after the race that if he had broken with the field, he would have won by 10 lengths. He didn’t break great the other night when Boca rode him, but he made the lead on the far turn and then he really dug in when that other horse came to him. He was never going to let that other horse go by him.”

Viands’ comparison of Time to Rock to Parisian Diva came without prompting. The late daughter of Freedom Child, the best horse Viands has trained, won nine of 17 starts, including four stakes, and earned over $270,000, which also included a fourth-place finish in the then-Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks.

Time to Rock still has plenty to do to match the resume of Viands’ top trainee, but the local conditioner is confident he can develop into something special.


“The first time that I worked him, I called Jill [Daniel] and told her that he was my next Diva,” Viands said. “I mean, the first time I breezed him, I realized that he could really move. That first start he missed the break and raced wide and still got third. I thought he was a little better in his last start. But I still have to work with him to get him to break better. I think he’s going to be better going two turns.”

Time to Rock
Time to Rock narrowly bested Tapintheparade to break his maiden. Photo by Coady Photography.

While Viands had bragging rights last week when Time to Rock edged Tapintheparade, Ronnie Sigler, trainer of the runner-up, is not willing to concede future setbacks. It was the Sigler-trained Aim for the Cork that outlasted the late bid of Time to Rock in their respective career debuts December 16, and Tapintheparade delivered a winning performance in defeat when Time to Rock graduated.

“All along, I thought Tapintheparade was a little better than Aim for the Cork,” Sigler said of the full-brother to Juba’s Parade, a stakes-placed runner last year. “He was a couple of works ahead of that other one. But when Aim for the Cork won first time out, I thought maybe I was wrong. But that was a tremendous race from Tapintheparade the other night. He’s still a little green. If [jockey Gustavo Larrosa] hits him right-handed, he ducks in, and if he hits him left-handed, he tends to veer out. The other night Gus only hit him one time right-handed, and he ran great. I’m sure we’ll see Stacey’s horse in an allowance race soon. But right now he’s got to deal with Marshall Peanut before I do.”

Marshall Peanut, a son of Gandhi out of the Taste of Paradise mare Crooked Again, emerged on the scene last fall by graduating at first asking at 37-1 in a one-turn maiden special weight dash. He then came right back to win a one-turn allowance by more than six lengths in 51.20. That same night, Golden Key, a five-year-old trained by Ronney Brown, captured a one-turn allowance for older runners in 51.65, his 11th win in 28 career outings.

Marshall Peanut is owned, bred and trained by Michael Atkins. He had his first breeze since that December 14 triumph when he cruised three furlongs in 37 1/5 seconds January 24.

Atkins sports 307 career winners from 4,350 starters with roughly $3.75 million banked with a single-season best of 19 winners in 1996, one of 12 times since 1987 that he has reached double-digits in wins. His top trainee to this point is Kluvyabye, a mare that won nine of 57 starts and earned nearly $215,000.

Last year Jubawithatwist and King Kontie went to the head of the West Virginia-bred two-year-old class, dead-heating in the Henry Mercer Memorial before Jubawithatwist bested his rival in the WVBC Moscarelli Memorial and then again in the West Virginia Futurity. With the arrival of Marshall Peanut, Time to Rock, and the others, it could make for a very interesting season for state-bred sophomores.

[More on Jubawithatwist and his races against King Kontie]