Eye Witness Explodes to Victory in Animal Kingdom

March 25, 2023

Eye Witness needed corroboration for his Animal Kingdom victory under Irad Ortiz, Jr. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

By Maribeth Kalinich

The first of six stakes topped by the Grade 3 $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks, the $250,000 Animal Kingdom kicked off the menu with five 3-year-old colts sprinting six furlongs on the all-weather track at Turfway Park. 

Wesley Ward trained Eye Witness broke first under Irad Ortiz, Jr., but would be quickly challenged by Olazabal piloted by Gerardo Corrales. They would hold a slight lead with Tiger Paw (IRE) ridden by Luan Machado shadowing the leaders.

Moonstrike (GB) with Adam Beschizza up and Brazen Boy with Chris Landerow trailing through the zippy first quarter of 22.26. 

Contenders held positions through a 46.54 half mile as horses and riders began to implement their plans coming into the straight. Moonstrike would pass Tiger Paw as he would slide behind Brazen Boy.

Eye Witness would overtake Olazabal and then fire his afterburners exploding to a five length victory with a final time of 1:11.76.

Olazabal would finish second 5-1/2 lengths ahead of Brazn Boy. Moonstrike and Tiger Paw complete the order of finish.

Libertango and New York Thunder were trainer scratches and Swirvin was scratched by the stewards.

Eye Witness paid $3.42 for the win, $2.32 for place and %2.10 for show. Olazabal paid $2.96 and 2.10 and Brazen Boy paid $2.40.

This was Eye Witness’s second win in a row having broken his maiden in his second start New year’s Day at Turfway park at one mile on the AWT in a hearty field of 13. The City of Light colt’s first start was a third-place finish at Belmont at the Big A Sept. 23, 2022, at six furlongs on turf in a close battle settled by a head, nose and 1-3/4 lengths. 

Out of Mr. Greeley mare Gracilia, the bay colt was bred in New York by Anlyn Farms and sold for $235,000 at the Fasig-Tipton 2020 Fall Mixed sale.

Eye Witness was again purchased for $625,000 at the Keeneland 2021 September Yearling sale and is owned by Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith, Jonathan Poulin, Mrs. John Magnier and Westerberg.

@JakeBLues23231 @jonathanstettin @PastTheWire and selections were made at 8/1 12/1/10/1 M/L. Must be we are all so far ahead we pound!

Bill Mentes @drbillym View testimonials