County Final Goes from Sales to Tyro Winner’s Circle

Whether in the sales ring or on the racetrack, County Final is commanding attention. The 2-year-old Oxbow colt, who topped the Fasig-Tipton July Horses of Racing Age Sale when purchased for $475,000, picked up his first stakes win for his new connections Aug. 8 by winning the $71,500 Tyro Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Reluctant to load and slower into stride than in two prior starts, races in which he led early, County Final chased the pace for the first time in the Tyro. He settled in second, as the Wesley Ward-trained first-time starter Spicy Marg shot to the lead with an opening quarter-mile in :22.20.

Called into action on the turn by jockey Joe Bravo, he was initially turned back by Spicy Marg, but by midstretch, his seasoning advantage was apparent. He reeled in the leader shortly after a half-mile split in :45.65, and coasted home the final eighth of the five-furlong dash by 4 1/4 lengths. He completed the distance on a fast track in :58.16, paying $2.80 as the favorite.

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“He’s a pretty nice colt. Very mature,” said Bravo. “He really impressed me in the post parade. He’s a very intelligent horse. He relaxed nicely.

“He broke good but that horse inside of us (Spicy Marg) is fast. (She) out-footed us, but it was so impressive at the one-eighth pole. My horse switched leads and he took off.”

Spicy Marg, a filly matched against three males in the Tyro, held second, two lengths ahead of third-place Newyearsblockparty. Beau Bridge completed the order of finish.

The Tyro, originally scheduled for turf but moved to the main track, lost half of its field when Fauci, Baytown Bear, Golden Pal, and Twirling Fire were scratched. Golden Pal and Fauci were the race’s morning-line favorites.

County Final, now owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, William Sandbrook, and Anna Marie Shannon and trained by Steve Asmussen, previously raced for trainer John Ennis, who owned him in partnership with Hayden Noriega and 47 Roses.

Ennis consigned the colt to last month’s sale after a debut maiden victory at Churchill Downs followed by a runner-up finish behind Cazadero in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3). At Fasig-Tipton he proved a popular commodity, ultimately purchased by West Point with Lane’s End Bloodstock acting as agent.

Saturday he became the first stakes winner from his dam, the Tapit mare Tapajo, who won the six-furlong Goldfinch Stakes and one-mile Panthers Stakes at Prairie Meadows in 2012 for Asmussen. He is one of three winners from his dam, who also as a yearling filly by Keen Ice and foaled a Will Take Charge colt this year.

Bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, where Oxbow currently stands for $10,000, the colt was originally bought for $9,500 by Ennis from Ballysax Bloodstock at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.