Northfield, OH — The co-winningest horse for wins in 2021 and 2022, Winning Shadow picked up right where he left off, winning his 2023 debut in style with a 2-1/4 length victory on Sunday (Feb. 19) at MGM Northfield Park.
Following a disappointing fourth place finish on Oct. 18, his connections decided it was time for a break, turning out their champion and giving him a chance to get back into form.
His route to victory wasn’t easy, as several left to his inside, including Eye Ofa Tiger AS (Billy Davis Jr.) and Alan (Aaron Merriman). Having not raced since October, Winning Shadow (Chris Lems), while paying the price to be on the lead, muscled his way to the front in :27.3.
From that point forward, the race was just about over. Lems worked out a second-quarter breather of :29.4 with Windsong Patriot (Ryan Stahl) in hot pursuit, only a half-length off the lead. Heading to three-quarters in 1:26, Winning Shadow opened up a two-length lead with a host of pursuers chasing, battling for minor spoils.
Driving confidently through the stretch, Winning Shadow clearly never lost a step as he was never asked by Lems, winning by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:55.
“He’s just an amazing animal; I am thrilled with how he returned tonight, and look forward to what he will do throughout the rest of the year,” said a jubilant Lems. “He’s just a good boy.”
Mission Accepted (Greg Grismore) rallied to be second, while Killer Instinct (Hunter Myers) used a four-wide bid to finish third.
With the victory, Winning Shadow has now earned $804,801 in 145 career starts, winning 57 of them.
Live racing resumes on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. MGM Northfield Park currently races on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. For more information on live racing and promotions, visit www.northfieldpark.com.