Two of the best two year-olds in Pennsylvania had already squared off twice before the running of the Commonwealth’s most prestigious race for juveniles, the $100,000 Pennsylvania Nursery Saturday at Parx. In both races, Morning Fire had bested Bird of Trey, but when the big money was on the line, it was Bird of Trey who turned the tables, ran the race of his young career and roared away through the final quarter mile to win the Nursery by a decisive seven and a quarter lengths.
The two first year colts hooked up early in the seven furlong test. Bird of Trey broke well from his inside post while Morning Fire came out to an alert beginning and the two were side by side up front through the opening furlong in a strong 22.89. Nearing the half mile pole, winning jockey Joshua Navarro decided against keeping Bird of Trey stuck down on the inside and allowed Morning Fire to move away to a clear lead so that he could get his horse off the fence and once again pick up the chase from the outside. Heading to the far turn, Morning Fire had opened a clear two length lead but Bird of Trey was easily able to regather himself and began to close that gap again after a half mile in 45.86.
Engaged heads apart again approaching the quarter pole, it was Bird of Trey who was the much stronger horse. The Birdstone colt, trained by John Servis, came off the turn in full stride and quickly drew clear to a lead that would seemingly grow with every stride. Despite being geared down by Navarro through the last sixteenth of a mile, he still cruised under the line better than seven lengths in front.
Owned by JRita Young Thoroughbreds, despite having lost to Morning Fire twice, Bird of Trey went off as the 8-5 favorite and paid $5.20, 3.20 and 2.60. Morning Fire (3-1) was clearly the best of the rest, finishing five and a half lengths clear for second and paid 3.40 and 3.20. Wychmere (25-1) ran on well late to get up for third and paid 10.00 to show. The final time over a track labeled fast was 1:24.15.