Power By Far, a homebred colt who already has proven himself to be the brawniest branch on his family's tree, overcame sturdy competition in winning the $50,000-added Bowie Stakes at Laurel Park yesterday.
Power By Far's ancestors have been owned by, and run for, Barbara Geraghty's family dating from 1950, when the mare B Double B arrived on her Pennsylvania farm. A plaque with photos of the five generations of thoroughbreds from the same stock hangs in Geraghty's living room. Until Power By Far, however, the offspring tended to perform more like hobby horses than stakes racers.
"We've bred a lot of pets, I hate to admit," she said. "After all these years in this business, to have a stakes winner like him, we just started asking ourselves: Can this really be happening to us?"
Power By Far, all by himself, has repaid Geraghty and her family for the time and money they have invested in his ancestors. Up to the Bowie Stakes, the 4-year-old sprinter had earned more than $400,000, posted 12 victories and finished in the money in 20 of 26 starts.
One of those out-of-the-money finishes nearly ended his career. In September, Power By Far and another chestnut colt spilled head over hoofs in the Wilmington Handicap at Delaware Park. Geraghty watched from the grandstands as only one of the fallen animals got up and galloped from the wreckage.
"I couldn't tell if it was my chestnut horse that was up or down," she said. "Finally, I saw he was all right, but that was an awful thing to go through." The other horse involved in the spill, she said, was destroyed.
Power By Far not only survived the crash without a scratch, but also won the Beneito Memorial Handicap by more than three lengths at Penn National just three weeks later, earning the highest speed figure of his career. He also took the Eillo Stakes at the Meadowlands in October.
Those performances induced bettors to send Power By Far off as the favorite yesterday in the six-furlong sprint, despite the presence of Loaded Gun. In July, Loaded Gun defeated both Power By Far and horse of the year candidate Artax at the Philadelphia Breeders Cup Handicap.
But the bettors looked pretty smart by the top of the stretch, when jockey Roberto Alvarado steered Power By Far around pacesetter Chips Pride and took command. Wise Dusty, another homebred sprint specialist who has done quite well for himself and his owner ($579,000 in career earnings), made a wide charge over the last 100 yards, but his closing kick fell short by almost four lengths. Loaded Gun took third.
Power By Far finished in 1 minute 8 4/5 seconds, the fastest time of the meeting for six furlongs, and paid $4.60. In the winner's circle, Geraghty said: "This horse, well, he's our gift from heaven."