Wilgerbosdrift’s well bred young sire Fire Away received yet another boost to his pedigree when his close relative Major Dude won the G2 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont on Sunday.
A two-year-old colt from the first crop of his sire Bolt D’Oro, Major Dude made it two wins from just four starts with a fluent win in Sunday’s feature for two-year-olds.
A debut winner at Monmouth, the $550,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling could only manage sixth in the Spa’s G3 Sanford Stakes and was third behind romping stablemate Lost Ark when stretched to a mile for the Sapling Stakes. Away well, Major Dude was reined by hot-handed Irad Ortiz,Jr. into the first turn to sit in a joint third behind a pace that seemed hot enough visually over the soft going (:24.10, :49.73,1:15.84). He mounted an outside move to take over at the head of the lane, but was immediately tackled by odds-on ChadBrown pupil I’m Very Busy. That one seemed to have all the momentum, but Major Dude had the heart and edged away in the shadow of the wire to prevail by daylight.
In the process, Major Dude stamped his ticket for the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Out of the Distorted Humor mare Mary Rita, Major Dude’s third dam is legendary, unbeaten US champion Personal Ensign -who also ranks as the granddam of Fire Away and G1 Belmont Derby winner Mr Speaker. The latter also made headlines this weekend, with Mr Speaker’s son Speaking Scout winning the Hawthorne Derby.