Mike Ryan and Niall Brennan stick to a sales philosophy – everything’s for sale but the kids. They tried to sell Mani Bhavan twice and failed. The daughter of Storm Boot is still for sale, but now she’s a Grade II winner after wiping out seven rivals in the 92nd renewal of the Adirondack Wednesday afternoon.
Mani Bhavan shot out of the outside stall in the $150,000 stakes, instantly clearing the field. Under Alan Garcia, Mani Bhavan opened up a a solid 1-length lead, hitting the first quarter in 22.36 seconds and a half in 46.10. Stuck down inside, favorite Bold Union faced pressure from the start and the previously undefeated filly rumbled in fourth, just off second choice Garden District and third choice Simplify. Turning for home, Garcia let out a notch and Mani Bhavan opened up at will, waltzing home by 7 lengths over Doremifasollatido who had a nose on late-running Pretty Prolific. Bold Union finished fourth. Mani Bhavan finished the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.09. She paid $19.40.
Brennan and Ryan might say everything’s for sale but their kids, but they struck out twice when trying to sell Mani Bhavan. The pinhooking partnership consigned the daughter of Storm Boot to OBS February. She didn’t reach her reserve. Three months later, Ryan and Brennan scratched her from the Fasig-Tipton Timonium Sale after she breezed fair and couldn’t garner any action. Ryan asked trainer Steve Klesaris to come see her at the sale.
It was a short conversation and a quick handshake.
“Mike Ryan asked me to come look at her and asked if I’d be interested in taking her to Delaware,” Klesaris said. “I said ‘Absolutely. I’ll pick her up in the morning.’ Mike said, ‘I like her, I had to scratch her . . . ’ I said, ‘Mike, put her on the truck. I got it from here. You go home. I got it.’ ”
Did he ever.
Klesaris put her in his Delaware Park string and began getting more confident with every training day. He unveiled her in a six-horse maiden July 12. She broke from the rail and never looked back.
“She did everything right, went through her lessons correctly, she showed me a lot of ability coming to her first race,” Klesaris said. “I told Mike, ‘It’s going to take a pretty good filly to beat her. She showed me enough to win at first asking, unless there’s somebody really good in here, they’re not going to beat her.’ She went out there and put on a tremendous performance. I said, ‘She’s even better than I thought.’ ”
Mani Bhavan won by 9 1/4 lengths while going 5 furlongs in 57 4/5 seconds. Klesaris entered her in the Schuylerville on Opening Day but decided she would benefit from another three weeks.
“It came up a little quick for my liking, then it came up sloppy,” Klesaris said. “She showed me in her first race she belonged up here. She finished up really good that day. She’s got an explosive first, second and third step. Her first hundred yards is incredible. I told Alan in the paddock, I’d like to think you can sit outside and watch everybody, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think you’ll be 2, 3 in front like that.’ He’s sitting and they’re scrubbing.”
Built like a linebacker, Mani Bhavan powered down the backside and had her opponents on the ropes from the start. Garcia left the paddock confident.
“Steve said she’s very sharp and that we had a great post and do whatever you want to do when she breaks,” said the jockey. “I never saw anyone around me so I just took the lead and she did it really easy. From there she was just galloping around out there. Turning for home I was expecting someone to come to me but there was just nobody out there. I looked behind me, I looked on the (infield) TV, there was no one coming.”
After the race, Klesaris watched the replay of the Adirondack in the trustees’ room. He stood quietly until she hit the quarter pole.
“Right here, I said this is curtains. There’s no way they’re catching her,” Klesaris said. “They have the natural ability, she’s got some quick gears.”
Owned by Ryan and his children Sarah, Emily, Allaire and Sean, Mani Bhavan provided a thrill to the family, but don’t think Ryan and Brennan have changed their philosophy.
“You have to have confidence in your product and we’ve always said we’ll put our money where our mouth is and we don’t buy anything that we’re not prepared to race,” Brennan said. “We buy horses we like because we might have to race them ourselves. She’s still for sale. Everything but my kids . . . ”