Two-year-old Tapit colts Cornacchia and Gun It both won maiden special weight races Dec. 22 at Fair Grounds and were named “TDN Rising Stars” for their performances.
Gainesway homebred Cornacchia, who was making his racing debut for trainer Brad Cox, came with a determined off-the-pace run under jockey Florent Geroux to capture a six-furlong event by a nose. The dark bay is out of the Grade 2-winning Orientate mare Great Hot.
Cornacchia is named for the late Joseph Cornacchia, who campaigned Kentucky Derby winners Strike the Gold (1991) and Go for Gin (1994) in partnership with William Condren. Cornacchia also owned Mr. Greeley, who developed into a successful stallion and stood the final portion of his stud career at Gainesway.
Gainesway president Antony Beck “booked this name some years ago,” Gainesway director of sales Michael Hernon told Horse Racing Nation. “We’ve been waiting and waiting to give it to a colt, and hopefully we made the right selection here.”
Earlier on the Saturday card, $2.6 million yearling purchase Gun It dominated a 1 1/16-mile contest by 4¼ lengths. Owned by Whisper Hill Farm and Three Chimneys Farm, Gun It was making his second career start after a fourth-place debut Oct. 28 at Churchill Downs. Ricardo Santana Jr. was in the irons for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Three Chimneys bred Gun It in partnership with Besilu Stables from the Medaglia d’Oro mare Miss Besilu.
Cornacchia and Gun It join Chasing Yesterday – subsequently winner of the Dec. 8 Starlet Stakes (G1) – Coliseum, Dream Maker, Nitrous, Rugbyman, and Winter Sunset as progeny of three-time leading sire Tapit to be named “Rising Stars” in 2018.