A young Thoroughbred with a celebrity namesake broke his maiden during the second day of Keeneland’s five-day Summer Meet.
Fauci, a 2-year-old colt trained by Wesley Ward, notched his first career triumph during his second career start in the opening race at the Lexington track on Thursday. Tyler Gaffalione steered the heavy favorite to a hard-fought victory in the 5 1/2-furlong, $70,000 turf contest.
Fauci was the 5-2 morning-line favorite but was bet down to 1-1 odds at post time, perhaps due to the cachet carried by his moniker.
Co-owner Phillip Antonacci named Fauci after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, in March. Dr. Fauci has gained widespread fame in recent months due to his role in America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the cancellation of Keeneland’s Spring Meet.
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Fauci — the four-legged version — concluded second in his debut at Belmont Park in New York in early June.
After that race Antonacci said he chose the horse’s name as a tribute to Dr. Fauci who, like Antonacci, is an Italian-American from Brooklyn.
“We wanted to honor the service that he’s given to the whole world: beside COVID, fighting all the other (infections) his whole life,” Antonacci stated. “Throughout the whole thing, he seemed like a voice that knew what was going on and, without trying to be too political, kind of calmed things and provided real data behind what was going on.”
The Thoroughbred has generated plenty of hype because of his handle, and after June’s runner-up finish Ward said he expected big things.
“He’s a really, really good horse,” Ward said. “Especially with the name that’s been assigned to him, you know that he’s got to live up to the name.”
Now, Fauci has made his first trip to the winner’s circle.Get all the latest Live Betting and Sport News updates on your social media outlets. Find us on both Facebook and Twitter