Steve’s Sleepers: Rattle N Roll and Zandon

We’re giving you two Kentucky Derby sleepers this week because we had Rattle N Roll ready to go, but it had to be put off for two weeks and the colt wound up running in the Breeders’ Futurity…and romping at 8-1. So this is more of a look at was written before the race and after the race and how we got wind of him. We’re also including a recent maiden winner who checked off all the boxes and looks to be Derby material. ~ Steve Haskin

Steve’s Sleepers: Rattle N Roll and Zandon

By Steve Haskin

The house at which we stay in Saratoga is located a stone’s throw from Kenny McPeek’s barn, directly across Fifth Avenue from the entrance to the Oklahoma training track. This year, with McPeek’s barn under quarantine and his horses unable to train until 11 a.m. after all the other horses had completed their training, the only way I was going to see Swiss Skydiver was head out the back gate of the house and wait for her by the track.

It was there that I met McPeek’s assistant Francis Chiumiento.There were several horses scheduled to train before Swiss Skydiver. One of them was a classy-looking chestnut colt named Rattle N Roll, who Francis couldn’t stop raving about.

“I’ve been around enough good horses to know one when I see one and this colt is special” said Francis, who has been hotwalking since he was 10-years old.“In his first race he was green as grass and was flying on the rail. But we could see how smart he was. The quarantine really messed us up, but he’s ready to run now. He just does everything right and has had no issues at all other than being a little green from day one. We felt from the start he could be the real deal. The question is how quickly he’ll mature. Once he understands what the job entails the sky’s the limit. I would be shocked if he’s not a Grade 1 winner.”

When Francis said the quarantine had messed them up, he was referring to the colt being entered for his second start on July 17 and having to be scratched after a horse in Kenny’s barn, trained by Jose Abreu, came down with equine herpesvirus, which prevented all horses in that barn from racing for 21 days and training with the other horses.

So I took several photos of him on the track and waited for him to run again. The first thing I did was go back and watch his debut at six furlongs. He broke last from post 2 in a 12-horse and dropped far back, with only one horse beat down the backstretch. On the far turn he completely lost touch with the field and was some 15 lengths back. At the head of the stretch he was still 13 lengths off the pace. He swung out several paths and then darted back toward rail where he really turned it on. He was still sixth, 7 ½ lengths back at the eighth pole, and looked to have no shot to finish in the money. But he kept pouring it on and was flying at the end to get third, beaten five lengths by Gunite, who would go on to romp in the Hopeful Stakes. Racecaller Travis Stone said as he crossed the wire, “…Rattle N Roll from nowhere to get third.”

With a performance like that he would have been a perfect horse to write about for the “Derby Sleepers” series except for the fact that the idea for the series at that time had never even entered my mind. That wouldn’t come until the final weekend of Saratoga when I saw Commandperformance make his debut and the idea came to me.

The week before, Rattle N Roll finally made it to the gate for his much-anticipated second start. Around the turn he was moving so fast I thought for sure he was a lock to win. But out of nowhere he bolted badly and was pulled up by Jose Ortiz. I, like others, thought he had suffered an injury and just hoped it was nothing serious. As it turned out, McPeek said he was hit in the eye with something, possibly a clod of dirt.

On September 23, he showed up in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Churchill Downs. I couldn’t wait to see what he would do around two turns. He ducked out slightly at the start and got creamed by the horse on his outside who came in on him. He was able to settle in midpack under Brian Hernandez, but was trapped the entire run down the backstretch and around the turn with no place to go, while being caught behind a very slow pace. After straightening into the stretch there was an opening on the inside he quickly shot through and in a flash was gone. Running straight as the proverbial arrow this time and striding out beautifully with great extension, he drew off to a three-length victory without being touched with the whip and then just kept pouring it on with a monster gallop-out,leavingthe others far behind.

His speed figures came back slow, but that didn’t bother me because of the ridiculously slow pace and him having nowhere to run. What I saw in the stretch was all I needed to see to schedule him as my second Derby sleeper. So I contacted several people to get his back story and was all set, but had to put it off two weeks due to other column priorities.

Well, we all know what happened. He was entered in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and sent off at an enticing 8-1. I put a bet on him and then watched as he demolished 12 opponents with one of the most explosive moves on the turn seen all year. Once again he surged past everyone in a flash and drew off to win by 4 ¼ lengths. To demonstrate how strong his race was and how much improvement he had shown, his Thoro-Graph figures jumped from a slow “16” to a mediocre “10 ½” to a sensational “3 ½,” which was faster than Jack Christopher, considered the fastest 2-year-old in the country, ran in the Champagne Stakes.

This horse has shown he can overcome trouble at the start and being trapped in tight quarters, he has an electrifying turn of foot that can put him in contention in a flash, is maneuverable enough to be taken outside, inside or between horses, and can burst clear of horses under a hand ride. And he runs straight and true in the stretch and holds his legs under him perfectly. In short, he is a true professional with no flaws.

As for his pedigree, he will run all day. His sire, Connect, is a son of Curlin out of a Holy Bull mare, who won the Cigar Mile and Pennsylvania Derby. He has a great combination of stamina and speed top and bottom. His second dam is by Jockey Club Gold Cup and Suburban Handicap winner Pleasant Tap, who is by major stamina influence, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Pleasant Colony, a son of the Ribot stallion His Majesty. Pleasant Tap’s broodmare sire is another major stamina influence, Belmont winner Stage Door Johnny.

Rattle N Roll’s third dam Dance Review produced two Grade 1 winners and is out of Dumfries, a half-sister to the top-class racehorse and champion sire Lyphard and the Vaguely Noble filly Nobiliary, who has the unique distinction of finishing second in the English Derby and then coming to America where she won the Washington D.C. International against a star-studded field. She is the only filly since 1916 to place in the Derby.

Now that we have told the story of Rattle N Roll the racehorse, let’s go back to the beginning and tell how he got there. The colt was bred in Kentucky by St. Simon Place, who also bred this year’s undefeated Pocahontnas Stakes winner Hidden Connection.

Rattle N Roll had some problems as a foal that wouldn’t respond to antibiotics and it took a while to get him going. That November it was decided to sell him at the Keeneland mixed sale as a weanling and he brought $55,000, then was pinhooked the following year at the Keeneland September yearling sale for $210,000, where he was purchased by Kenny McPeek for the Mackin family’s Lucky Seven Stable, which is named after the five Mackin siblings and their parents.

After selling him as a weanling, St. Simon Place’s Tommy Wente began having seller’s remorse. “He had all this medicine in him from an early age and he just wasn’t right,” Wente said “He wasn’t ready to sell as a weanling. It was a mistake; I screwed up. We left a bunch of money on the table. But you have just so much money to run the farm and you can’t keep all of them. You just try to raise as much money as you can.”

It was Carrie and Craig Brogden of Machmer Hall who prepared Rattle N Roll for the mixed sale and acted as agent under the name Select Sales.

“He was a lovely colt and I remember distinctly that two minutes after he sold, Tommy looked at me and said, ‘I should have waited and sold him as a yearling; that was too cheap,’” Carrie recalled. “And that is never how Tommy feels after selling a horse. He was a correct, strong, tough colt and was really uncomplicated.”

Wente added, “Sometimes fate is like that. He eventually wound up in good hands with Kenny. He tweeted me after he bought him and said he’ll be a stakes winner by fall.”

McPeek has been one of the most astute judges of young horses in the country for a number of years, picking out a great many future stakes winners, including Curlin, for modest prices.

“I can remember exactly what barn he was in, Barn 19 (Paramount Sales), and which path he walked on,” McPeek said. “He had a great presence and walk, huge shoulders and a great hip. He brought a little more than we expected, but obviously he was worth it.”

This summer, Rattle N Roll was sent to Saratoga and it didn’t take long for Francis Chiumiento to recognize his potential.

Following his Breeders’ Futurity victory, Chiumiento reiterated all that he liked about him. “He’s very smart and does everything right,” he said. “He was just a little green. The first time he ran he really didn’t know what he was doing. But I could tell he was special. He has such a fluid easy stride and does everything so effortlessly. After he bolted we worked with him and the light bulb finally went on.”

And it obviously has stayed on for good after his dramatic improvement when moved into Grade 1 company against some of the top 2-year-old prospects in the country and defeating them decisively. Rattle N Roll came out of his race in good shape and will head to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and a shot at the 2-year-old championship. From a handicapping standpoint his “3 ½” Thoro-Graph number was not only extremely fast, but a huge leap forward from his previous start. But was it too huge a leap? McPeek said he prides himself in getting young horses to move forward, so we will see what he does following such a fast speed figure and big jump. Remember, this is about the Derby, not the Breeders’ Cup.

For the purposes of this column and series it doesn’t matter where he runs as long as he stays on track for the first Saturday in May and can keep improving. McPeek, who ran second in the Kentucky Derby with Tejano Run in 1995, said all he can do is hope there is a Derby with his name on it. He has already smelled the black-eyed susans from afar after picking out Preakness winner Curlin as a bloodstock agent and the carnations up close as trainer of Belmont Stakes winner Sarava and Travers winner Golden Ticket, both gigantic longshots. After the Breeders’ Futurity you can bet Rattle N Roll has given him an early whiff of those elusive roses.


There are very few traditional family-owned breeding operations left that have been breeding, raising, and racing horses off their farm and breeding to their stallions. One of those farms that is still flourishing is Brereton Jones’ Airdrie Stud, located on historic and picturesque Old Frankfort Pike in Midway, Kentucky.

Airdrie is located on the site of the famed Woodburn Stud, home of the immortal Lexington during his amazing 16-year reign as America’s leading sire in the 19th century, as well as 5 Kentucky Derby winners. But from the turn of the 20th century until 1972 there were no Thoroughbreds residing on the property until Jones took over a large part of the farm and named it Airdrie Stud. Since then 215 stakes winners have been bred and raised at Airdrie, including 24 Grade 1 winners. From 2008 to 2015, Jones, the now 82-year-old former Governor of Kentucky, won three Kentucky Oaks. Two of the winners he bred from his stallion Proud Citizen, who also sired homebred Mark Valeski, who won or placed in five graded stakes for Jones.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Airdrie Stud and what better way to celebrate than as the breeder of the Kentucky Derby winner.

Jones certainly would be one of the most popular Derby winners in years, especially in Kentucky, and it’s just possible the wheels have already been set in motion.

Those wheels started rolling on October 9 at Belmont Park when the Airdrie-bred Zandon, trained by Chad Brown, broke his maiden in his career debut going six furlongs. In terms of being a Derby horse, those obviously were just baby steps, but there was enough to suggest that this colt could have a bright future.

Sent off at 5-1 in the seven-horse field, Zandon broke a step slow, then moved up between horses, settling in fourth, while stuck down on the inside behind horses. Around the far turn it was obvious he did not like the kickback, as he had his head cocked to the inside. Turning for home, he was still behind horses with nowhere to go. Joel Rosario finally managed to move out for clear sailing nearing the eighth pole and once he did Zandon immediately turned on the afterburners and took off after the 7-5 favorite Matt Doyle. Displaying push-button acceleration and a flawless stride he flew home his final eighth in :11 3/5 to win going away by 1 ½ lengths in 1:10 3/5. And this followed an :11 4/5 eighth when he had to wait for running room.

It was veteran bloodstock agent Mike Ryan who picked out Zandon at the Keeneland September yearling sale for $170,000 for owner Jeff Drown.

“I had looked at him at the farm on August 13 and really liked him,” Ryan said. “He was a big, strong colt and very impressive looking with a great head and eye. He turned in just a hair on his left foot, but he was a quality colt who had a lot of presence and was a good mover. I saw he was in Book 4 at the Keeneland sale and remembered how much I liked him on the farm and went to see him at the sale. It had been five weeks since I last saw him on the farm and young horses can change quickly, But I still loved everything about him and called Jeff and told him how much I liked the colt. He had spent a lot of money already, but we went ahead and got him.

“He’s done very well since. He ate a lot of dirt in his first start and had his head turned sideways. There was no wasted action and he had excellent knee action and was a very efficient mover. I thought he looked magnificent and seems to have a bright future.”

Zandon received a “6 ½” Thoro-Graph number, which is excellent for a first-time starter and he should only keep improving as the distances get longer. He has Airdrie Stud written all over his pedigree. Jones bred his dam and second dam and stands his sire Upstart and broodmare sire Creative Cause. Upstart’s sire, Flatter, is the sire of Flat Out, two-time winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Suburban Handicap, and won the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at age 7. Upstart’s dam is by Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold. Creative Cause was a Grade 1 winner who placed in the Preakness, Santa Anita Derby, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

What I love most about Zandon’s pedigree is that his dam traces to the great blue hen producer Boudoir II, who produced Your Hostess, the granddam of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Majestic Prince; Your Host, the sire of five-time Horse of the Year Kelso; and Flower Bed, whose daughter Flower Bowl won the Delaware Handicap and produced full-brothers by Ribot, Graustark and His Majesty (both major classic influences ) and Bowl of Flowers, champion 2-year-old and 3-year-old filly and winner of the Coaching Club American Oaks and Spinster Stakes.

“Zandon was a beautiful colt as a yearling,” said Brereton Jones’ son Bret who plays a major role in the operation and bred this year’s top-class sprinter Bell’s the One. “We lost (his second dam) Incarnate Memories this year, but fortunately we kept (Zandon’s dam) Memories Prevail. His third dam Witness Post was a very fast filly but got hurt and never ran. Bill Graves touted my dad on her and he bought her at the Keeneland November mixed sale for only $15,500. We’re so lucky that dad decided to develop the family. Zandon first caught our attention when when he worked in company with a son of Curlin and ran off and left him”

Both horses were clocked out of the gate down the backstretch to the half-mile pole with Zandon in front by three lengths. But once they hit the far turn, Zandon quickly opened up by 10 to 15 lengths while under a strong hold.

Chad Brown said Zandon also earned a fast Ragozin figure and he now will point for the one-mile Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct on November 7. He still has a long way to go, as do most of these sleepers, but with Brereton Jones a definite Derby gods candidate to provide class, tradition, and history to next year’s Derby on his farm’s 50th anniversary, Zandon has a lot going for him already.

Photos courtesy of Steve Haskin and Adam Coglianese


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142 Responses to “Steve’s Sleepers: Rattle N Roll and Zandon”

  1. Point Unforgiven says:

    Steve, I realize the last posting for this article on “sleepers” was Bill’s three weeks ago. Nevertheless, since that’s the topic, this is where I’m going to tell you about another one – on the off chance you didn’t see it. Please check out Sunday’s 8th race from Churchill and the horse who finished 2nd. Interesting.

  2. Bill Dawson says:

    The BC entries will be revealed on Wednesday (10-27). I’m looking forward to see if Jasper Great will ship in from Japan, and be an entry in the BC Juvenile (colts). Listed at 28-1 on BC Futures, he blew away the field in his maiden race, at Hanshin, by 10 lengths. If he does ship, look out for this one.

  3. EddieF says:

    Steve, in the 11th paragraph, you gave an excellent summary of what impresses you when you watch a 2yo in its first race or two. Without giving away the secret to your success, could you tell the amateur race fans here (e.g., me) what else you’re looking for? In general terms, of course.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      I look for a horse who does everything professionally and is always bright and alert, in other words a horse knows and does what is expected him and is competitive.. Action is very important and I want a horse with no flaws in his stride. He has to have decent speed figures, a good turn of foot, or if he doesnt, the ability to sustain his run a long way. and I want to see enough in his pedigree to assure me he will get 10 furlongs.

      • EddieF says:

        Many thanks for your reply, Steve. I need to learn to focus on the stride of horses. I know you’ve often written about how a horse floats over the track. That’s something I need to identify better than I do now. As for a “good turn of foot,” I often get fooled by a horse that is simply passing tired horses. But I suppose that is part of the equation: that the horse in question ISN’T tiring when the other are.

        Hope to see a new column soon!

  4. Matthew W says:

    Bob Numeyer (I’m sure I misspelled) passed away, was Breeders Cup favorite of mine.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that. He was a good guy and a great presence on TV for many years as handicapper on NBC.

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Matthew. “Numy” and Mike Battaglia made a wonderful tag team on TV broadcasts on many major race days for years. They were often wrong as often as they were right, but so entertaining.

      • Steve Haskin says:

        Being wrong as often as right in racing is 50 percent. I’ll take that any day considering no one is ever wrong as often as right. LOL

    • Matthew W says:

      Suffered a stroke in 2014….wasn’t that old….

  5. Coldfacts says:

    Many of Bob Baffert’s fans are of the opinion that the enhanced testing protocol adopted by the Breeder Cup Board is unwarranted and represents a needless singling out the trainer. Grossly unfair is the consensus amongst these fans. The big question has to be. Have the performances of Bob Baffert’s horses raised Red Flags? Well, let’s look at a few:


    In the colt’s last KD Prep he was beaten by 4 1/4L in the SA Derby completed in 149.17. His approximate final time would as in the range 1:50 plus. An extrapolated 10F time would be in the range of 2:03 plus. Medina Spirit was badly beaten by a combined 12 1/4Lin his last two KD Preps.

    Hot Rod Charlie won his final prep in the LA Derby in a NTR. Essential won the Blue Grass in 1:48.50 and won both his KD preps..Mandaloun who surprisingly ran badly in LA Derby had won one of his last 2 KD preps and was working brilliantly ahead of the KD.

    Medina Spirit turned up at the KD and delivers a gate to wire performance defeating the top opponents that entered with better records and form. There have been upsets in the KD but this one was similar to the previous year.


    This colt was easily defeated by Honor A P in the SA Derby. He just held off NY Traffic by a diminishing HD in the Haskell. Tiz the Law was all the rage winning KD preps with the ease of a hot knife going through butter. Authentic was just a tenacious as Medina Spirit in the stretch and repelled the challenge of Tiz The Law who had recorded better numbers and performances ahead of the KD. The trainer of Tiz The Law appeared right when he uttered ‘Bob can whow up with a skinny mule and win a major G1″

    Two colts whose last two KD Preps suggested that both were unlikely to emerge the winner of the KD. But they did whilst defeating more accomplished opponents. There form reversal was neither unexpected nor not surprising. This occurs regularly with horses trained and conditioned by Bob Baffert.


    Finished last by 20L in the Travers. Four weeks later won the PA Derby in a NTR. A Further 4 weeks later left the gate of the BCC like a tornado causing a chain reaction of infractions en-route to winning in gate to wire fashion. Beaten by 20L in the Travers in 2:02.93 with an approximate final time being in the range of 2:04 plus. Eight weeks late won his 2nd attempt over 10F won in 1:59.98. It should be noted that California Chrome who defeated Bayern by 21L in the Preakness finished behind him in both the PA Derby and BCC. One horses went on to become and International champion and 2Time HOTY and the other faded into obscurity.


    Before the 2014 Big Cap, Game on Dude had contested 12 races over 10F. His best time for the distance was 1:59.49 recorded as a 4YO. At the ripe old age of 7, Game On Dude destroyed Will Take Charge and Mucho Macho Man en-route to winning the Big Cap in a NSR of 1:58.18. Will Take Charge and Mucho Macho Man had 3 months earlier left the then 6YO GOD in their wake in the 2013 BCC. The Big Cap has been won by seven horse age 7, including the great Seabiscuit. None has run as fast . The previous stakes record for the Big Cap was 1:58.60 held by TC winner Affirmed and he established it as a 4YO.

    Folks Bob Baffert isn’t some genius. He isn’t better than many of trainers in the US. The form reversals of his horses are not due to training and conditioning. Just as Flo Jo’s transition to super woman wasn’t due to her declared new diet. Bill
    Mott was undefeated with Cigar for two years whilst winning 16 consecutive races. As Cigar got older he wasn’t running faster. Game On Dude was no part of Cigar.

    The enhanced testing protocol adopted for BB are not only necessary but are long over due.

    • EddieF says:

      No comment on your off-topic post other than to call out your misquoting of Barclay Tagg. The actual quote was this, from the Times Union:

      When the role of Travers favorite was brought up to Tiz the Law trainer Barclay Tagg, he smirked. “Baffert will probably be the favorite,” Tagg said. “He could bring a skinny mule and he would be the favorite.”

      So not only did you change the wording, but you changed the context. How about an apology?

      • Steve Haskin says:

        Good luck with that. His next post off topic just to bash Baffert will be deleted. After that he will be deleted. I have warned him about this. He is treading a very thin line.

    • Matthew W says:

      I do know Bob told Mike Smithto hit Authentic left handed, and he would spurt away—Mike didn’t, and they nearly lost the Haskell….Johnny V listened to Bob….Medina Spirit is tough when he makes the front—-PLEASE don’t bring up the Preakness, which is two weeks after the Derby—Medina is not a big animal…..but no one…NO ONE— has or is suggesting the horse received PEDS for the Kentucky Derby….

    • Matthew W says:

      Game on Dude ran MANY great 10 fur races! If he got a lonely lead he was the nuts! You cherry pick Bob—Knicks Go, ever heard of him? Late 4yo…..turned into Precisionist—new trainer……it happens, horses improve—and there really AREN’T many trainers as good as Bob, at bringing out the optimum performance out of a horse.

    • Matthew W says:

      Speaking of Cigar, its a good thing Bob didn’t train HIM….Horse didn’t win a stakes till nis 20th (approx) start, what would you have said about Bob if HE had trained him!

  6. Steve Haskin says:

    Check out Messier ridiculously easy maiden winner at SA today 4th race. Owner, trainer the usual suspects.

    • EddieF says:

      He shoots…he scores!

    • Bill Dawson says:

      Yes indeed, that was ridiculously easy. Messier showed excellent speed throughout, and with his stamina laced pedigree, on both sides, he should be able to run all day. Baffert just keeps rolling out these classy 2yr. olds, year after year. It’s probably too late to consider running him in the BC Juvenile, but he’s certainly a colt to keep an eye on moving forward.

  7. EddieF says:

    I’ll be interested to see the appropriately named Figlio Del Re in today’s 8th race at Laurel (2yo mdn, 7f).

    * By the late great Galileo out of the multiple G1 winning I’m a Chatterbox, who had the misfortune of running against Beholder, Songbird, Stellar Wind, and Forever Unbridled in the 2016 BC Distaff.

    * The homebred debuted last month for Graham Motion on the turf at Belmont and lost by the length of an Irish estate. At least the winner returned to win the Belmont Futurity, and the 2nd-place horse broke his maiden next time out.

    The debut effort must have been a huge disappointment for the connections, but there’s reason to believe that dirt may be to his liking considering the dam’s résumé. The last two works at Fair Hill were much quicker than his works there previous to the debut. Horses training at Fair Hill have done well in the past couple of weeks. Perhaps the tote board will offer an indication. Betting on Figlio in the Belmont turf race was tepid (10-1).

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Thanks Eddie … I will be watching the race in 14 minutes… the son of Galileo is third favorite at 6 to 1.

      Three nice maiden worth following are:

      # Bourbon Heist ( PRACTICAL JOKE – ELUSIVE ONE, BY ELUSIVE QUALITY ) FOALED APRIL 16, 2019. A maiden who defeat many good 2-year-olds in his 4th place in the Iroquois.

      # Apprehend ( ARROGATE – HERO’S AMOR, BY STREET HERO ) FOALED FEBRUARY 21, 2019 second to Corniche in their debut

      This son of Gun Runner trained by Brad Cox won his debut but was so very green that was disqualified. He looks like a good one especially with more maturing

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Very good call Eddie… Figlio del Re just won the race. I hit the exacta with Caminero in second. Thanks for the post.

      • EddieF says:

        Thanks, Nelson. That one had my heart racing. Figlio was being hammered from his 10-1 ML. At one point, maybe 5 minutes before post, he was 3-1. I’m not too accustomed to betting Laurel races. Are the odds typically so wacky from one minute to the next? I made my bet as they were loading into the gate and his odds were either 9-2 or 5-1. Final odds were 8-1. Figlio was game the whole trip, fending off multiple challenges late. All despite the announcer mispronouncing his name! 🙂

        Appreciate the heads up on the three young-uns.

      • EddieF says:

        And your Caminero helped my place price. Nice exacta bet…good going!

    • Bruce says:

      Hey Eddie, great call on Figlio, nice $18 winner!!

  8. Facts, I noticed American Sanctuary also. I look for improvement at a juicy price! Good call.

  9. Coldfacts says:

    Ahead of the Hopeful G1, I mentioned I liked Defend an American Freedom colt who captured my attention with an impressive MSW win at Delaware Park. The fact that the colt’s connections had retained the services of leading rider Saez, made him a serious contender. Well, the colt couldn’t have performed any worst. He finished 10 of 11 and appeared to have bolted and had to be pulled up.

    My interest in Defend led me to be on the look out for the progenies of American Freedom who like Tapit is son of Pulpit. I came across American Sanctuary in the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park. His PPs were decent so it was time to recover losses. He made a big sweeping move to pass the leaders on the turn for home and looked the likely winner. However, he was mowed downs by Double Thunder a member of the High Octane barn of Todd Pletcher.

    In reviewing the entrants for the Breeders Futurity I was surprised to see American Sanctuary entered. Also entered was Double Thunder. American Sanctuary got the jump on Double Thunder in the 8F Sapling and he couldn’t repel his late challenge. What chance would he have going an extra 1/2F? Something rather strange occurred in the Breeders Futurity which leads me to believe American Sanctuary could be a whole lot better than advertised.

    American Sanctuary is an April foal whose dam was sired by E Dubai considered to be the fastest son of Mr. Prospector. The colt broke in maiden over 5Fin 57.68 by 8 1/2L. He lost his next start over 6F by 1/2L in a time of 1:10.51. He therefore possesses some of the speed that his sire and dam sire displayed.

    When the gates opened for the Futurity, American Sanctuary was relegated to last some13L off the leader. I invite all to revisit the video of the Futurity and focus on the entrant in last. It will reflect just how effortlessly American Sanctuary passed opponents whilst on the rail. His rider had to switch off the rail approaching the final turn and that slowed his momentum. It didn’t help that he got caught traffic and had to check off horses for his final effort. He finished 6L behind the impressive Rattle and Roll who had clear passage on the outside..

    A colt with 57 speed for 5F isn’t suppose to be occupying last position in routing race. That doesn’t compute. The breathtaking move this colt made passing opponents is rarely seen. He is a probable for the BCJ. I would have put him away for Spring assault. But who can fault his connection. A $2M purse is always an incentive.

    The BCJ pace is likely to be contentious. If this colt has improved off his last effort and can be rated closer to pace. He could used his effortless movement to get on the board at a big price.

    There is speed and stamina in this colt’s pedigree. It must be a plus that his dam sire E Dubai won the 10F Suburban covering the last 2F in 23.85. He is also the sire of gate to wire BCC winner Fort larden.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      You’re late. This horse has already been discussed.

      • Matthew W says:

        I mentioned his terrible trip at Monmouth, was very wide both turns and carried out on the first turn….last race he was pinched back into the first turn….trainer Davis has two longshots, he also trains the colt that was very rank at Churchill, yet stayed on late. Another longshot will be ridden by 50 year old Kent D…Ovett Class—and we’ve seen this movie before, a few years ago at Santa Anita the brothers won the Juvy.

  10. Matthew W says:

    Count me as one who thinks Golden should’ve mapped out a Classic plan for Mishriff–They beat Charlatan on the wrong lead! “Too tired”…..from all of the hard turf races, could have been “Horse of the World”, on dirt…..cudda…..