The handsome Bodemeister colt O Dionysus, campaigned by Peter G. Angelos’ Marathon Farms, got his first win of the year in the $75,000 Miracle Wood Saturday, Feb. 18 at Laurel Park, and did it with aplomb, striding home a three-length winner as the 4-5 favorite in the field of eight. The Dark Hollow Farm-bred colt was making his fifth consecutive stakes start, and recorded his second stakes win, having captured the $75,000 Christopher Elser Memorial Stakes at Parx Racing in November.
Two of O Dionysus’ efforts between the wins were second-place finishes in the Marylander Stakes in his final start at 2 on December 31, and Frank Whiteley Jr. Stakes three weeks later. The Marylander was a sensational effort against one of the leaders of the sophomore class, Irish War Cry. The two battled from the far turn to the wire, with a nose separating them at the finish. In his next start, Irish War Cry won the Holy Bull Stakes-G2 at Gulfstream Park over a field that included last year’s champion juvenile Classic Empire and multiple graded winner Gunnevera.
O Dionysus, based at Laurel with Gary Capuano, has been nominated to the Triple Crown, and Capuano taking aim at preps at Laurel. “We’re still looking for a two-turn race,” said the trainer. “The next race will be two turns and if everything goes well he’ll be back for that. He doesn’t miss a trick so we’ll keep going. The goal is the Tesio. From there we’ll see how good he is and where he takes us.” The $100,000 Private Terms at about a mile and a sixteenth on March 18 at Laurel is the next likely spot, with the $125,000 Federico Tesio April 22 – a ‘Win and You’re In’ event for the Preakness Stakes-G1 – as a long-range goal.
The most expensive colt sold at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling sale when purchased by Angelos for $190,000, O Dionysus has been in the top three in seven of his eight starts while earning $171,272. He is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Joy, whose four wins were all at a mile or longer, and his sire Bodemeister, by Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, was second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Out of Safe Journey, a winning daughter of Flatter, O Dionysus represents three generations bred by David and JoAnn Hayden, tracing to their foundation mare Safely Home. His second dam, stakes-placed Safe At the Plate, is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup winner, champion sprinter and Hall of Famer Safely Kept and graded stakes winner and sire Partner’s Hero.