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Just As Well Brother Wins Gr2 On Preakness Day

The half-brother to Roski-owned sire Just As Well, the colt named Utley (after an American baseball player) steered out from behind traffic and rallied to win the historic $400,000 Longines Dixie Stakes (Gr2) Saturday at Pimlico on the running of the second leg of the Triple Crown - the Preakness which was taken home by California Chrome.

Edgar Prado rode the winner, a son of Smart Strike trained by Jonathan Sheppard. The 6-year-old turf veteran closed with a rush on the outside to score by a length over Hey Leroy. Chamois finished third, a nose further back. Utley’s winning time for 1 1/16 miles over the ‘good’ turf was 1:43.88.

Winning Assistant Trainer Keri Brion (Utley): “I was on the phone with (trainer) Jonathan (Sheppard) and I said, ‘Can you believe that?’ He was watching the race on tape delay and he said, ‘What happened?’ I said, ‘We won it, we won it.’ He’s hard-trying and this race was kind of a step up. He ran a very nice race two weeks ago at Churchill Downs, and Jonathan thought, ‘Why not take a shot?’ He really took to the soft turf.”

Utley winning the Gr2 Longines Dixie Stakes. Image: espn.com

Winning Jockey Edgar Prado (Utley): “Jonathan was very confident to bring this horse to this race. The horse has been training well and he thought he would have a good chance and he proved that he was right. I got a beautiful trip and I was able to go inside and save ground in both turns, angle out in the stretch and he finished real well. Jonathan did a super job to get this horse ready.”

Utley has now won six times and placed five. He finished three lengths off Pluck in the Gr 2 Breeders Cup Juvenile on turf and has won and placed in England in the European Free Handicap.

Gr1 winner Just As Well sold his first crop of yearlings at the 2014 National Yearling Sale - his top-priced colt sold to Des Egdes for R200 000, bred and consigned by Bruce Le Roux's Spring Valley Stud. The colt named Just Positive is out of Positive Thoughts(USA) by King Of Kings. In total he sold two Lots for a combined total of R310 000.

A Gr1 winning family, with Just As Well being a Group 1 and 3 winner himself by Champion sire A.P. Indy, he is out of a Gr1 winning mare No Matter What, by Nureyev - sharing a sire and broodmare sire with Judpot.

His half-sister by Dynaformer, Rainbow View, is a seven-time winner in America, Ireland and the UK - including two Group 1 wins. Just As Well is closely related to top European sires E Dubai and Raven's Pass.

Owned by Roski Stud and Anton Proctor, Just As Well stands at Bruce and Delia Le Roux's Spring Valley Stud for a fee in 2013 of R10 000 live foal.

Just As Well at Spring Valley Stud, February 2014. Image: Candiese Marnewick