When you are named for the Greek god of the sea, who was also known as “Earth Shaker,” you better be ready for a fight.
Maryland-bred 3-year-old champion Poseidon’s Warrior lived up to his name – running nine times in 2011 (once every month from April through December), winning four and gaining a reputation as a tough customer in any Mid-Atlantic sprint. Racing for trainer Butch Reid, the son of Speightstown earned $244,937 to prevail in a strong division that included four-time winner Concealed Identity.
The year started with back-to-back fourths in stakes company at Parx Racing and Presque Isle Downs. Shifted to a second-level allowance at Parx in June, Poseidon’s Warrior won gate-to-wire by 10 lengths over older rivals, “with speed to spare,” noted the chart.
His time for 6 furlongs was 1:08.18.
Sold by Cash Is King Stable to Tom McGrath’s Swilcan Stable after that race, Poseidon’s Warrior delivered another powerful win, this time in the East Hanover Stakes at Penn National in late July. He battled up close early under Frankie Pennington and drew off late to score by 6¼ lengths in 1:09.36.
Reid tried Saratoga and the Grade 1 King’s Bishop next, and Poseidon’s Warrior drew a few looks as a live longshot before fading to sixth behind Caleb’s Posse and Uncle Mo. No matter, the dark bay colt went back to work and finished second to Royal Currier – in a 1:07.51 track record-setting performance – in the $250,000 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx, then put together another two-race skein.
He dominated restricted foes in Delaware Park’s New Castle Stakes in October, getting 6 furlongs in 1:09.08 and winning by almost 2 lengths. In November, Poseidon’s Warrior faced off with Royal Currier once more and whipped his rival by 3½ lengths in the Le Bagoter Stakes at Penn National, with the clock stopping at 1:09.67.
A third behind Royal Currier and J J’s Lucky Train in the Valley Forge Stakes at Parx on Dec. 20 did little to diminish the campaign.
The champion spent the winter at Eisaman Equine in Florida, and will return for a 2012 campaign.
“He was just a notch away from the best sprinters,” said Reid of 2011. “Maturity will help him. Another year older, he might put some of that 3-year-old stuff behind him and improve. He’s going to have to earn it, but the [Grade 1] Breeders’ Cup Sprint is the goal.”
Bred by Dark Hollow Farm and William Beatson, Poseidon’s Warrior hails from a long line of Maryland heroes tracing back to Counterflight, a $1,500 Timonium auction purchase by owner/breederJohn Merryman in 1964.
Counterflight never raced, but produced 10 winners from 11 foals, including stakes winner Lady Lyndy (dam of $711,804-earner Smart ’n Quick). Another Lady Lyndy daughter, Poised to Pounce, earned $62,420 on the track and continued the tradition producing Maryland Million Classic-winning $455,240- earner Play Bingo, stakes winner Quick ‘n Smart, and now Poseidon’s Warrior, her last of nine foals.
Beatson (a real estate developer in Annapolis) and Dark Hollow’s David Hayden bought the Smarten mare (carrying Play Bingo) in 2000 and sold most of her offspring. Poseidon’s Warrior was sold for $90,000 as a 2-year-old.
“She got runners, just a great mare,” Hayden said of Poised to Pounce, who died in 2009 while carrying a Hard Spun foal. “Poseidon’s Warrior is a really, really nice horse and we’re happy he’s done as well as he has. We probably should have kept him, but he’s fun to watch.”
His half-sister Popeye’s Lady (by Forest Wildcat) is part of the Dark Hollow broodmare band now.