Stakes Recap
Jun 9, 2022
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Consumer Spending makes the grade in G2 Wonder Again

by Ryan Martin

Stakes action for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival kicked off with an in-hand winning effort from Klaravich Stables’ Consumer Spending in Thursday's Grade 2, $200,000 Wonder Again for 3-year-old fillies on the inner turf.

The triumph in the nine-furlong test provided four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown with a record-extending fourth Wonder Again conquest. Consumer Spending entered from a game winning effort in her seasonal debut against Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Pizza Bianca in the Memories of Silver on April 24 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Consumer Spending broke from post 2 under returning rider Manny Franco and rated between horses around the first turn as Vergara, winner of last year’s Tepin at Aqueduct, led over the yielding turf through splits of 24.53 seconds and 50.12 with graded stakes-placed Skims just off her flank under Flavien Prat.

Skims inched her way up to even terms with Vergara around the far turn while Franco gave Consumer Spending her cue from the three path. At the top of the stretch, Consumer Spending moved right past Skims and Vergara.

Myriskyaffair launched a late bid on the far outside, but Consumer Spending was all wrapped up inside the sixteenth-pole, scoring her third stakes victory by two lengths in a final time of 1:50.73.

Myriskyaffair took place honors by a neck over Skims. Vergara and Sweet Sensation rounded out the order of finish. Shad Nation and main-track only entrant Tap the Faith were scratched.

Consumer Spending, who returned $2.90 as the favorite, earned her first graded win in the Wonder Again and third overall stakes win. In addition to the last out Memories of Silver, she won the Selima in October at Laurel Park in her stakes debut before finishing a close sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“She’s really come around. She’s actually surprised me how much she’s improved from two to three,” said Brown, whose other Wonder Again accolades include Lady Eli [2015], New Money Honey [2017] and Cambier Parc [2019]. “I thought she was a nice prospect last year and good enough for the Breeders’ Cup, but you never know which ones are going to make the jump. She’s moved forward quite nicely. We’re very excited about her.”

Consumer Spending, who is undefeated in three starts with Franco aboard, is also undefeated over yielding going, including a second-out maiden score in September at Saratoga Race Course.

“I said, ‘They’re going slow, so I’ve got to move,’” said Franco, who has piloted Consumer Spending to 3-of-4 lifetime wins. “My filly responded to me and I just engaged them and that was it. The filly did the rest. As soon as I moved on her, she went. She has a nice turn of foot.”

The win was a second collaborative stakes win of the meet for Franco and Brown, who joined forces to get Masen a stateside stakes coup in the Seek Again on May 22.

“She’s a lot more mature and Chad does a great job with his horses. I’m happy to be on her and hopefully we keep going,” Franco said.

The Wonder Again offers the top-three finishers an automatic invite to the 10-furlong Grade 1, $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 9, the opening leg of the Caesars Turf Triple series for fillies.

Brown said the Belmont Oaks would be her likely next start, noting his success with More Than Ready progeny.

“I’d say so. You are always looking at her saying, well it’s a More Than Ready horse and we’ve had so much luck with them over the years with horses like [Champion Turf Females] Rushing Fall and Uni, but you wouldn’t be screaming for a mile and a quarter with a lot of them,” Brown said. “But, she hasn’t done anything wrong and she ran through the wire good with no target in front of her, so I have to think if she’s got someone to follow, there’s more there, so onto the Belmont Oaks.”

Brown added that stakes-winner Haughty and multiple graded stakes-placed McKulick also will point to the Belmont Oaks.

Consumer Spending is the second progeny out of the Scat Daddy mare Siempre Mia, whose dam Shaconage was a dual graded stakes-winning turf distaffer. She was bought for $200,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Select Yearling Sale, where she was consigned by Eaton Sales. Her record now stands at 6-4-1-0 with $350,000 in earnings.

Christophe Clement, trainer of runner-up Myriskyaffair, expressed delight in seeing the Cedar Hill homebred garner black type in her stakes debut. She was a last-out 14-length winner in a local off-the-turf maiden at the Wonder Again distance on May 22.

“It was a great trip. The usual style from Joel Rosario - he saved ground and gave her a great ride,” Clement said. “I'm delighted; the filly belongs to the owner-breeder and she placed in a Grade 2.”

The Wonder Again honors John Phillips’ five-time graded stakes-winning millionaire, who captured the 2002 Garden City Handicap [now the Belmont Oaks] and the 2004 Diana at Saratoga, both Grade 1 events. The Jimmy Toner-trained Silver Hawk mare banked earnings in excess of $1.4 million and produced Bernardini mare Amazement – the dam of multiple Grade 1-winner Colonel Liam.

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