Band of Gold a First Stakes Winner for Preservationist in Martha Washington

The 24-1 longest shot in a field of nine for Saturday’s Martha Washington S. at a soggy Oaklawn Park, Dixiana Farms LLC’s Band of Gold (Preservationist) became the first black-type winner for her young Airdrie Stud-based sire (by Arch) with an irresistible late run to best heavily favored Denim and Pearls (Into Mischief).

Content to drop down onto the fence from her low draw, the $70,000 Keeneland November weanling switched off nicely behind midfield for Brian Hernandez, Jr. and remained within striking distance for the run around the turn. In hand and going well nearing the stretch, she split horses a quarter-mile from home, angled out into the center of the rain-affected strip and did her best work through the line to cause the boilover.

“It’s one of those deals, looking at it on paper, a lot of us were coming out of sprints, so there was going to be quite a bit of speed,” said Brian Hernandez Jr. “We ended up being 24-1. We had the two hole, so our advantage was just going to be to save every inch of ground. And if she was good enough from the head of the lane [coming] home, she was going to get there. That’s what happened.” 

Band of Gold became one of 14 first-crop 2-year-old winners for Preservationist when dropping her nose on the line to graduate over Churchill’s one-turn mile in a race taken off the grass Nov. 25, but she never factored in her juvenile finale, a distant fifth in the Dec. 23 Untapable S. at the Fair Grounds.

Band of Gold is out of a half-sister to 2018 GIII Southwest S. hero My Boy Jack (Creative Cause) and her third dam was a winner of the GIII Fleur de Lis S. and runner-up in the GI CCA Oaks in 1996 for the late John Franks. The 2-year-old full-brother to Band of Gold, Chunk of Gold, was purchased for $2,500 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton October Sale. Play for Gold is due to Airdrie’s Upstart for 2024. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

MARTHA WASHINGTON S., $250,000, Oaklawn, 2-3, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:45.16, sy.
1–BAND OF GOLD, 118, f, 3, by Preservationist
1st Dam: Play for Gold, by Cairo Prince
2nd Dam: Gold N Shaft, by Mineshaft
3rd Dam: Gold n Delicious, by Gold Alert
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. ($70,000 Wlg ’21 KEENOV). O-Dixiana Farms LLC; B-Brereton C Jones (KY); T-Kenneth G McPeek; J-Brian Joseph Hernandez Jr. $135,000. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-0, $206,000.
2–Denim and Pearls, 122, f, 3, Into Mischief–Majestic Presence, by Majestic Warrior. ($500,000 Ylg ’22 FTSAUG). O-Red White and Blue Racing LLC; B-Town & Country Horse Farms LLC (KY); T-Brad H Cox. $45,000.
3–Neom Beach, 118, f, 3, Omaha Beach–Giant’s Causey, by Giant’s Causeway. ($210,000 2yo ’23 OBSAPR). O-Bloom Racing Stable LLC (Jeffrey Bloom) & The Line Racing; B-Tami Bobo (KY); T-Steven M Asmussen. $22,500.
Margins: 2 3/4, NK, HF. Odds: 24.30, 1.00, 7.10.