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There are few things that profit a freshman sire more than having a first-crop success at the Keeneland spring meeting. Especially for those horses who are somewhat big, late-maturing, and stamina-oriented, showing the versatility as a sire to get some horses with real speed is a big edge.

So Nina Fever, the first starter for Borrego, made a splash for her sire with a victory in the first race today at Keeneland, jetting 4 1/2 furlongs over the Polytrack in :51.19 to win by eight lengths “under a steady hand ride,” according to the chart.

Nina Fever, out of the Major Impact mare Impact Now, did not break as alertly as some other starters, but the bay filly challenged for the lead early. By the quarter pole, she had a half-length lead and widened thereafter, setting fractions of :22.58 and :45.05.

The filly is owned by Gatewood Bell and trainer Wesley Ward, who used races such as these for training grounds before his international expedition last year that yielded major successes abroad.

Borrego (ch h, 2001, by El Prado x Sweet as Honey, by Strike the Gold) was bred to race well at 10 furlongs, and he did. Over his favorite trip, Borrego won the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and Pacific Classic, ran second in the Hollywood Gold Cup, and finished third in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Following in the wake of stallion success for El Prado sons Medaglia d’Oro and Kitten’s Joy, much was hoped for Borrego, and if he and Artie Schiller come through well with their first crops, the posthumous reputation of El Prado will soar even higher as a sire of stallions.

1st-KEE, $47,750, Msw, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f (AWT), :51, ft.
+NINA FEVER (f, 2, Borrego–Impact Now, by Major Impact) was pegged as the 2-1 morning-line second choice to get her freshman sire (by El Prado {Ire}) off the mark with his first runner, and was sent off as the 8-5 favorite. Urged along, the bay filly vied for the lead from the inside as the field hooked up with the main track. She disposed of pace-pressing Tristanme (Bwana Charlie) turning for home and put the race to rest, streaking home to score by eight lengths. The final time was three-fifths of a second off the track record. The top-selling weanling from her sire’s first crop ($40,000 at KEENOV), Nina Fever was resold for $32,000 as a KEESEP yearling. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $30,000. Click for the brisnet.com chart or video, sponsored by Taylor Made.
O-Gatewood Bell & Wesley A Ward. B-Dennis Foster & John J Greely IV (KY). T-Wesley A Ward.