Sy Dog rallies from last to win Kentucky Utilities Transylvania

April 8, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. – In the race preceding the Central Bank Ashland, Head of Plains Partners’ Sy Dog roared past Coinage at the eighth pole and went to score a three-quarters of a length victory in the 34th running of the $400,000 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) for 3-year-olds. 

Trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Sy Dog covered the mile and a sixteenth over a turf course rated as good in 1:45.38. It is the first Transylvania victory for Motion and Ortiz. 

Credibility led stablemate Coinage through fractions of :24.85 and :50.16 as Sy Dog raced at the back of the six-horse field. On the far turn, Coinage took over but was immediately challenged by Verbal while Sy Dog began to close in. 

In the stretch, Sy Dog collared the leaders with a three-wide move and quickly drew clear as Grand Sonata rallied along the rail to get up in time to grab second place. 

Sy Dog, now undefeated in three starts, is a Kentucky-bred son of Slumber (GB) out of the Scat Daddy mare My Love Venezuela. The victory was worth $244,900 and increased his earnings to $349,400. 

Sy Dog returned $13.40, $4.80 and $3.40. Grand Sonata, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $4.20 and $3 and finished a half-length ahead of Coinage, who paid $3.20 to show under Luis Saez. 

Napoleonic War finished another neck back in fourth and was followed in order by favored Verbal and Credibility. 

Click here for a replay of the race and the post-race interview with winning connections.

Sy Dog’s connections. (Coady Photography)

Quotes from the $400,000 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3)

Irad Ortiz Jr. (winning rider of Sy Dog)

“My horse was traveling perfect the whole race. At the three-eighths pole, I thought it was time to pick it up. I had the 4 horse (Grand Sonata) on the inside of me looking for some room, and I knew Tyler (Gaffalione, aboard Grand Sonata) had a lot of horse, so I decided to move a little early, take him out and go from there. He did everything I asked for. He was ready. (Trainer) Graham Motion did a great job and I thank the owner (Head of Plains Partners) and trainer for the opportunity.”

Alice Clapham (assistant to winning trainer Graham Motion)

“Graham had said he has been training really well at Fair Hill (Training Center in Maryland) and he had done everything right up to this point. They had been aiming at this race for a while, and it all worked out very well.”

Tyler Gaffalione (rider of runner-up Grand Sonata)

“The trip didn’t really go to plan. We knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of speed, but we were hoping to get a little more forwardly placed. We just didn’t jump the greatest. It was a slow trip and we got a little bit boxed in, but he finished well and he pulled up good so we’ll live to fight another day.”

Luis Saez (rider of third-place finisher Coinage)

“He broke pretty sharp. He was right there, and we were in a great spot. He never gave up, and he was trying hard – we just got beat. I didn’t see much speed in the race. I expected to be a little bit behind, but everybody took a hold, so the pace was slow.”

Racing continues Saturday with an 11-race program that begins at 12:30 p.m. ET and features five graded stakes headlined by the 98th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1), a major prep for the Triple Crown. The Toyota Blue Grass is the ninth race with a 5:10 p.m. post time. 

Keeneland Press Release
Photo: Sy Dog. (Coady Photography)

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