Longines Classic Division
OwnerR. A. Hill Stable & Gatsas Stables
BreederAlpha Delta Stables LLC
SireCandy Ride (ARG)
DamMona de Momma
Vekoma’s blockbuster undefeated 4-year-old season has already earned him two automatic Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” berths.
On June 6, his 7 ¼-length romp in the Runhappy Carter Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park gave him a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). The race, which was run on a sloppy track with no spectators, was originally scheduled for April at Aqueduct, but was moved due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Then, on the Fourth of July, Vekoma returned to Belmont and captured the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1), known as the “Met Mile,” in gate-to-wire fashion. He beat an all-star field that tallied a combined 20 graded-stakes wins, including 2019 Longines Breeders’ Classic (G1) runner-up McKinzie and 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Code of Honor. The victory earned Vekoma a free berth into the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), and made him a millionaire.
Vekoma is trained by Louisville native George Weaver, 49, who worked as an assistant to D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher before going out on his own in 2002.
“I’ve never had a horse with this much talent and determination. He just knows what he is,” Weaver said.
Last year, Vekoma joined the Derby trail with wins in the Nashua Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. He finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby. Weaver said this one blip in Vekoma’s resume could be attributed to the 1 ¼-mile distance being slightly too far for him. After the Derby, Vekoma took an almost 11-month rest. He has been perfect to date since.
The front-runner is owned by friends Randy Hill and Mike and Ted Gatsas. In his 20 years of racing, Hill, who grew up going to Monmouth Park with his mother, had one grade 1 win. He is thrilled Vekoma has given him two more in 2020.
Mike Gatsas’s son Matt came up with Vekoma’s name, which refers to a Dutch company that manufactures roller coasters and is a nod to Candy Ride, the chestnut’s father. Candy Ride was undefeated in six career starts, including the Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) at Del Mar. Vekoma’s mother, Mona de Momma, is also a grade 1 winner.
Vekoma will stand stud at Spendthrift at the conclusion of his racing career.
|July 04, 2020||Runhappy Metropolitan H.||BELMONT PARK||1||1|
|June 06, 2020||Runhappy Carter H.||BELMONT PARK||1||1|
|March 28, 2020||Sir Shackleton S.||GULFSTREAM PARK||1|
|May 04, 2019||Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve||CHURCHILL DOWNS||1||13|
|April 06, 2019||Toyota Blue Grass S.||KEENELAND||2||1|
|March 02, 2019||Xpressbet Fountain of Youth S.||GULFSTREAM PARK||2||3|
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- July 21, 2020
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