Seeking his first win since his dramatic score in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1 at Del Mar last November, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Aloha West succeeded in the Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs on July 2. His margin of victory was a neck in his third start of the year.
“We’re glad he got his feet back underneath him today,” said trainer Wayne Catalano. “He ran into some stiff competition in his last two starts and he was coming off the layoff. Our goal is to get him back to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Today, we started our way back by getting his confidence back. Joel [Rosario] had to ask him a little bit early in the race just to keep his position since he was inside of horses.”
Aloha West returned to the races six months after his Breeders’ Cup win and faced a daunting task, tackling last year’s Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Jackie’s Warrior in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes on Derby Day. He finished third. His next start was equally challenging as he took on Flightline in the one-mile Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap and wound up fourth.
The 5-year-old son of Hard Spun had the class edge in the Kelly’s Landing. Sent off the 9-10 favorite in the field of seven, he rated off fractions of :22.33, :44.80 and 1:09.07 while tucked along the rail, shifted out when asked to quicken turning into the stretch and caught the pacesetter in the final sixteenth. Driving to the wire he held off Miles Ahead while clocking 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.45.
“I think he got his confidence back today,” said Rosario. “He’s a very talented horse and showed his class today.”
Aloha West was bred by Robert T. Manfuso and Katharine M. Voss out of Island Bound, a Grade 3-winning daughter of Speightstown campaigned by Manfuso and trained by Voss at the end of her career. He was sold by his breeders as a yearling at the 2018 Keeneland September sale for $160,000 to agent Ben Glass.
First campaigned by Gary and Mary West, Aloha West won his debut and was sold privately to Eclipse after his second start. His stakes debut came in last year’s Kelly’s Landing where he finished fourth.
One of four winners from five starters for Island Bound, Aloha West has won six of 12 starts, with two seconds and a third, while amassing $1,507,290. He has a 2-year-old half-sister by Good Samaritan named Little Bristol and a yearling half-sister by Divining Rod. Island Bound foaled a Golden Lad colt on May 5.