Owens, Jr. earned first graded-stakes placing 

July 19, 2022

With Sanford runner-up Great Navigator

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Eddie Owens, Jr. celebrated his first career graded stakes placing when the 2-year-old Sea Wizard colt Great Navigator showed great heart in overcoming a troubled trip in the Grade 3, $175,000 Sanford on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. 

Great Navigator, piloted from post 3 by Jairo Rendon, travelled on the inside path throughout the six-furlong sprint and brushed the rail exiting the turn, shuffling to the outside of rivals to find running room as pacesetter Curly Jack tired in front of him and blocked him from gaining position. The dark bay colt was full of run and collared Andiamo a Firenze for place honors but ran out of ground and could not catch the victorious Mo Strike and was defeated 3 1/2 lengths. 

Owens, Jr. said Great Navigator made it back to his home base at Monmouth Park without incident. 

“He came out of it good, he’s a little tired, but it was a long trip home,” said Owens, Jr. “He did it professionally and he’s like an older horse. Nothing bothers him. It felt pretty good.” 

Great Navigator was an impressive debut winner by 5 3/4 lengths in a June 4 maiden at Monmouth, upsetting the field of juveniles at odds of 17-1 to give Owens, Jr. his 14th win since going out on his own in 2020. 

“He’s come along really good. I didn’t really have him cranked up for his first race, but I had him cranked up for this and he showed a lot yesterday,” said Owens, Jr. “If the five horse [Curly Jack] hadn’t tired in front of him, he may have won. He didn’t have anywhere to go, so he had to angle outside, but the race pretty much over.” 

Bred in New Jersey by owner Holly Crest Farm, Great Navigator’s next start is still to be determined by Owens, Jr. 

“We’ll see how he bounces back,” said Owens, Jr. “He’s not a very big horse and we’re not in a rush.” 

Out of the Steven Got Even mare All Even, Great Navigator hails from the family of graded stakes-winner Full and Fancy, and graded stakes-placed winners Stiffed and Half Metal Jacket. 

NYRA Press Office
Photo: Great Navigator #3 is tucked behind Mo Strike #6 on the outside on his way to finishing second in the Sanford. (Joe Labozzetta)

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