By Frances J. Karon
With her victory in the G1 Ashland S. at Keeneland on Saturday, Commonwealth Stable’s Virginia-bred Out for a Spin became the 68th black-type winner, and 10th at Grade/Group 1 level, for her sire Hard Spun (by Danzig), who stands at Darley for $40,000. She’s the seventh stakes winner (non-restricted or better) sired by Hard Spun out of a Gone West-line mare — an A eNick before factoring in this new SW — joining the likes of G2SW Red Duke and G3SWs Hard Enough and Maftool, and the first to win at the highest level. In 2019, the Hard Spun/Gone West cross is also represented by stakes-placed Spinoff, second in the G2 Louisiana Derby last month, so there is another horse potentially on the cusp of breaking through with a stakes win soon.
Out for a Spin’s story is that of a pinhook gone bad, gone very very good. Acting as agent, Randy Bradshaw signed the sales slip for her at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale. Her stakes-placed dam My Mammy (Came Home, by Gone West) had already produced Listed SW Sweet Victory (Blame) and was a half-sister to Bandini (Fusaichi Pegasus), who’d won Keeneland’s male equivalent of the Ashland — the G1 Blue Grass S. — and British G3SW Discourse (Street Cry). Out for a Spin’s third dam Hail Atlantis (Seattle Slew), a tale-female representative of the great Rough Shod II family through that mare’s Horse of the Year daughter Moccasin, had the G1 Santa Anita Oaks on her resume and was the dam of Stormy Atlantic (Storm Cat), a SW better known as the sire of 105 SWs to date, including four Canadian champions and two-time G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal.
On pedigree alone, $75,000 must have seemed like a gift when Bradshaw bought this beautifully bred filly, although that figure also happened to be the median price for Hard Spun’s 2017 yearling crop. Bradshaw took Out for a Spin to his farm in Florida and broke her, got her going — as he’s done with a long list of good horses, such as Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom; he was also a G1-winning trainer in his own right — and entered her in his OBS April sale consignment. Her catalogue page had improved by then: My Mammy had two new winners, making her a 100% producer from her other foals of racing age, and under the second dam, that Graded stakes-winning filly Discourse was the dam of two, new black-type winners. Still, the May foal didn’t impress enough buyers with her :10 3/5 breeze, going unsold at $50,000.
Often, with a good sire and a deep female family — success of the cross doesn’t hurt, either — it pays to keep the faith, and Out for a Spin had all the ingredients that stood to make her connections look like geniuses should everything fall into place. And that’s exactly what happened when Bradshaw and his partners elected to race Out for a Spin, sending her to his old friend Dallas Stewart to train. It was not an immediate success; she was fifth in her first start, a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs in November, before breaking her maiden at Fair Grounds at the end of December. She began her 3yo campaign inauspiciously, running third in an AOC in February before winning an AOC in March, both at Fair Grounds.
Stewart has never been one to shy away from a challenge when he’s confident in his horses, such as 47-1 Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever, so going in to the Ashland, despite it being only her fifth start and long odds, Out for a Spin was no joke. Following her game defeat of G1SW Restless Rider by a neck — champion Jaywalk was third — she lit up the toteboard at 52-1.
All being well, this filly is headed to the Kentucky Oaks, where she’ll go off at far shorter odds than she did at Keeneland. She’s an obvious contender based on her Ashland win and a pedigree that says she means business, and lots of people are going to be wondering why they overlooked her at the sales. One thing is for certain: whatever happens from here on out, Out for a Spin’s underappreciated days are behind her.
Meanwhile, at Keeneland the Sunday after the Ashland, Hard Spun had another milestone when his G1-winning son Wicked Strong (standing at Spendthrift Farm) sired his first winner, Secretly Wicked, from his first starter, a promising step in ensuring Hard Spun’s influence for future generations.