Derby Rankings: Week 4

The Saturday stakes brought new faces into the mix and disappointment to a few others. In any other year the Bob Baffert horses might have been No. 1 and 2, but this is not any other year, and with the 50-point races getting closer we should be hearing something soon. ~ Steve Haskin

Derby Rankings: Feb. 6, 2022 – Week 4

By Steve Haskin

1—Smile Happy (Ken McPeek, Runhappy – Pleasant Smile, by Pleasant Tap)

With stakes victories this year, Call Me Midnight and White Abarrio have boosted the form of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, which is all we have to go by with him, as he’s only had two starts in his life and is not making his 3-year-old debut until February 19. This is today’s horseracing – having a horse ranked No. 1 even though you hardly know anything about him and are depending on others to raise your confidence in him. So, what we’ve come down to is pure speculation rather than a body of work. And that is why he’ll remain at the top until he gets beat or someone comes along who does something sensational and has a fairly extensive resume to go by. But if he is as talented as he looked in his first two starts it will take an awfully good horse to beat him. He not only returned to the work tab on Saturday he showed how eager he was to get back to serious training by working a brilliant five furlongs in :59  2/5, second-fastest work at the distance. Taking a reverse approach, rather than having him prove to me he is worthy of the No. 1 spot he has to prove to me he’s not. That’s how freaky good he’s looked so far. As a side note, if Mattress Mac cashes that $4.5 million bet he made on the Bengals in Sunday’s Super Bowl, imagine how much he’s going to bet on the son of his beloved Runhappy in the Derby. He’s already started in the Future Wager.

2—Zandon (Chad Brown, Upstart – Memories Prevail, by Creative Cause)

Brown, who did call Zandon freaky good back on December 4, said his five-furlong work in 1:01 1/5 on Saturday was “outstanding.” The Risen Star is going to be one of the most intriguing matchups we’ve seen on the Derby trail in a long time. Not only do you have two lightly raced colts with only two career starts, Smile Happy will be coming off a 10-week layoff and Zandon a nine-week layoff; both horses ran exceptional races going two turns in their last start; and despite their lack of experience and having to go into the Kentucky Derby off only four career starts, the winner likely will be the Kentucky Derby favorite. Smile Happy does have a bit more foundation, with two 1 1/16-mile races under his belt, while Zandon made a huge stretch-out from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, but that gutsy Remsen performance, which he should have won on a disqualification, was over a typically deep and slow Aqueduct late fall surface, so that gave him a lot of bottom. But wait a minute, what if Los Alamitos Futurity winner Slow Down Andy beats both of them. After all, he’s only raced three times and two of them were in Cal-bred races. Do we have a clue how good he is? And don’t forget the Lecomte first three finishers, especially the always dangerous Epicenter.

3—Rattle N Roll (Ken McPeek, Connect – Jazz Tune, by Johannesburg)

I was considering moving him up to the No. 2 spot because he’s now had three works, his last a solid half in :48 3/5, he’s more accomplished than Zandon, and there is so little separating the top three. But with Rattle N Roll not scheduled to run until March 12 in the Tampa Bay Derby that is a long time to wait, so let’s see what happens in the Risen Star. Also, he is coming off an injury and only began breezing on January 22. He’s had more racing than the Top 2, but he will not have run for over five months going into the Tampa Derby. While I don’t like that long a layoff between 2 and 3 I can take consolation in knowing that American Pharoah made his 3-year-old debut on the same weekend and had actually been out of action 12 days longer than Rattle N Roll. Of course that was American Pharoah. And who knows where this colt will be ranked by Mach 12. A lot of people have forgotten how impressive he was in the Breeders’ Futurity, as evidenced by his 20-1 Future Wager odds compared to 8-1 on Smile Happy. He certainly was just as impressive as his stablemate, beating Classic Causeway by a bigger margin than Smile Happy did. As others move up while he remains idle, this might be the time to take a shot with him in the futures.

4—Messier (Bob Baffert, Empire Maker – Checkered Past, by Smart Strike)

Baffert has been raving about this colt for a long time and, boy, did he look spectacular demolishing his field by 15 lengths in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Breaking from the rail he went for the lead going into the first turn, but you could tell right away he was much more relaxed with the blinkers off, as John Velazquez always seemed to have a ton of horse under him. By the time they passed the three-eighths pole you were just waiting for Velazquez to light the fuse, knowing there would be quite an explosion. In the blink of an eye Messier was gone and then long gone, running a perfectly straight course while hugging the rail and just gliding over the ground. You also have attribute maturity from 2 to 3, and remember, his only two losses have come at Los Alamitos. I’m sure everyone at once asked the same question: now what? Look, it’s pretty obvious by now that unless something changes with the Churchill Downs ban Messier and Newgrange will soon be headed to another barn or barns. And Baffert realizes that. Under normal circumstances this performance likely would have moved Messier up to No. 1 or close to it. But he really didn’t beat much – a bunch of maiden winners and a grass horse — and until we find out where he’s going we’ll just let him sit behind the Top 3 and wait for him to settle in with his new trainer. But, boy did he look good doing it. This was flawless in every respect. The only thing you need to know about his pedigree right now is that the mile and a quarter should be no problem at all.

5—Newgrange (Bob Baffert, Violence – Bella Chianti, by Empire Maker)

Baffert said he definitely will have something in the Rebel Stakes, a race he’s won eight times. The logical horse would be Newgrange, but the keyword here is ‘something.’ He realizes if things stay the way they are he likely won’t be training Newgrange. So what would be more gratifying than going to his bench and finding a horse that isn’t being pointed for the Kentucky Derby and knocking off those who are? The SF Racing, Starlight, Madaket conglomerate could be in a strong Derby position with at least Newgrange and Messier, but will still have quite a talented second team with Pinehurst, Rockefeller, Wharton, Doppelganger, McLaren Vale and several others they could save for the Preakness who will remain with Baffert. Of course, this is pure conjecture, but what else can one do with the Baffert horses at this point? As for Newgrange, I do like the way his Thoro-Graph numbers have improved from a “9” to a “7” to a “3 ½.” This no doubt is a colt who is improving and you have to love the way he traveled to Oaklawn and beat their best 3-year-olds in workmanlike fashion over what was described as a cuppy and tiring track.

6—White Abarrio (Saffie Joseph, Jr., Race Day – Catching Diamonds, by Into Mischief)

I mentioned in Knocking on the Door that he wasn’t ranked because he didn’t work in almost three weeks, and as it turns out he had gotten sick and missed two works. Then he got back on the work tab last weekend and went a half in a sharp :47 2/5 with Tyler Gaffalione up. To come back one week later with only one half-mile work in the last four weeks and win the way he did was pretty impressive. Not bad for a $7,500 yearling purchase who was then pinhooked for $40,000 and eventually sold privately. Granted he got a huge break when the speedy Simplification broke terribly and wound up at the back of the pack and Giant Game and Tiz the Bomb were never a factor. He was able to track 19-1 Galt though fairly soft fractions, put him away easily and had clear sailing the rest of the way, coming home in a sharp :24 2/5 and :06 1/5 and crossing the wire 4 ½ lengths in front. As mentioned earlier, one thing the race does is boost the form of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, his only defeat, and flatter Smile Happy. He is by a grade 2 winning son of Tapit, but his female family is geared more toward speed up to a mile or possibly a little longer. I don’t know how much that means these days, but let’s just wait and see how he does in the Florida Derby going 1 1/8 miles with a more competitive pace. But he obviously is a very good horse and I’m not sure even with good trips, Simplification and Mo Donegal would have beaten him

7—Slow Down Andy (Doug O’Neill, Nyquist – Edwina E, by Square Eddie)

He breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 in company and was much improved as far as the head cocking goes. He did give one itty bitty little peak for a fraction of a second, but basically did everything perfect other than switching back to left lead late. He has a powerful stride and good low action and just seems like a work in progress. But it shouldn’t be long before we see a polished finished product. O’Neill is never afraid to take on anyone and he’ll travel if he has to, so it’s obvious by waiting for this race he has no concerns taking on two potential stars and a solid local contingent. This is still a perplexing colt in that we have no idea how good he is and how reliable the Los Alamitos Futurity was. The way Messier won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes it would be understandable if you feel that race was an aberration and simply a bad day for Messier. O’Neill is always dangerous and this Cal-bred has to be respected.

8—Emmanuel (Todd Pletcher, More Than Ready – Hard Cloth, by Hard Spun)

Taking a shot here. I am jumping the gun with him because I feel he is going to run a big race (in his stakes debut) and establish himself as a major player. He seems to just glide over the ground with smooth effortless strides and has the look of a classy horse who is extremely responsive to what the rider asks of him. You want him to relax and go along on cruise control and he’ll just prick his ears and lope along. You want him to get down to business and run and he’ll pin his ears and step on the gas. He has a commanding presence about him and despite still being under wraps around the far turn and well into the stretch in his allowance win, he still was able to run (his last two quarters in :23 4/5 and :24 flat). When (Morales) finally started pushing on him he quickly put it in another gear. Yes, a horse going that slow early is supposed to come home fast, but most horses can’t go that fast while in a common gallop. What makes the above comment so interesting is that with the exception of the three parentheses for currency sake, those are my word for word comments on Always Dreaming the first time I ranked him on Derby Dozen following his allowance win. I repeated these words because I could just as easily have been describing Emmanuel. As for Emmanuel’s pedestrian Thoro-Graph numbers of “8 ½” and “8 ¼,” I wrote this about Always Dreaming: “Sometimes a special horse can transcend speed figures early in their career, and this colt took a sledgehammer and shattered his paltry speed figs with the kind of performance we’ve been waiting for all winter.” Will history repeat itself?

9—Simplification (Antonio Sano, Not This Time – Simply Confection, by Candy Ride)

It may sound strange, but I consider him more of a Derby horse now than I did before the Holy Bull. Going two turns for the first time, had he won the same way he won the Mucho Macho Man, leading all the way in fast fractions, it would have been impressive but I would have needed to see more to consider him a major Derby contender, mainly the ability to close from off the pace and not be one dimensional. When he broke badly and dropped so far back, it looked hopeless he would even pick up a piece of it. Racing wide the whole way, he put in a long sustained run, but had no chance to catch the winner. He drifted even wider turning for home and still closed well to finish second narrowly holding off Mo Donegal, despite never changing leads. I have no idea what was going on with his owner saying she wanted to wait until the Florida Derby and then he shows up in the Holy Bull. But in spite of being a huge “bounce” candidate making a giant leap from a “14” to a “2” Thoro-Graph number in the Mucho Macho Man he ran a big race, showing he was far from a one-dimensional horse.

10—Mo Donegal (Todd Pletcher, Uncle Mo – Calingmissbrown, by Pulpit)

Just like White Abarrio boosted the form of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, he boosted the form of the Remsen Stakes even with his third-place finish. He had a lot going against him, dropping back from 1 1/8 miles on a slow surface to 1 1/16 miles over a speed favoring track with a short stretch. Breaking from the inside, he saved ground around the turn and down the backstretch. Irad Ortiz tried to ease him out and he had a clear path, but Simplification was on the move on the far outside and kept him hemmed in. Ortiz finally was able to get him to the outside, but there wasn’t much response so he had to go to the whip around the three-eighths pole and then kept riding him hard. Pletcher come-from-behind horses as a whole do not show that quick turn of foot around the far turn, but they always keep coming, building up momentum finding that extra gear in the stretch, and that’s what happened with Mo Donegal; he just kept coming under several left-handed and then right-handed whips. He finally found that extra gear in midstretch and just missed second. I’m not sure if Pletcher will subject him to another 1 1/16-mile race in the Fountain of Youth, but I feel he probably could use another shorter race to set him up for a big effort in the Florida Derby, while picking up points, rather than wait eight weeks and then another five weeks to the Kentucky Derby. But Pletcher likes time between races so we’ll see. He definitely has plenty of bottom already.

11—Early Voting (Chad Brown, Gun Runner – Amour d’Ete, by Tiznow)

Many are going to look at the ridiculously slow three-quarter and mile fractions and the sloth-like 1:55 4/5 final time and paltry 78 Beyer speed figure and dismiss this colt and the race as being a farce. But if you know horses and look a bit deeper you will realize that this was a much better performance than the stats indicate and what an exceptional colt he has the potential to be, even though it is early to pass any judgment. Let’s look at the time first. Yes, it was slow, but this horse, who was making only his second career start and first around two turns, rocketed out of the gate like he was in a sprint and he ran his opening quarter over the drying out muddy track in :23 2/5. To show how fast that was for a 1 1/8-mile race, in the six-furlong Toboggan Handicap, the brilliant 1-5 favorite Happy Medium ran his opening quarter in the same :23 2/5 and tired badly, getting beat 10 lengths. What makes Early Voting so special, as he has shown in both his starts, is his ability to distance himself from the field on the far turn without being asked. One minute he was two lengths in front with several others closing in and in a flash he was six in front nearing the top of the stretch and eight in front turning for home. Yes, he might have gotten a bit tired, but he actually picked it up again nearing the wire, winning by 4 ½ lengths and came back bouncing along with his head up like the race took nothing out of him. This is a classy-looking colt who is bright and alert and very professional and is bred to run all day. Of course, I won’t be as high on him if he goes straight to the Wood Memorial and tries the Derby off only three career starts. Having a lightly raced horse run in a 1 1/8-mile race this early in the year can play havoc on your schedule, so he may have to out of town to get two more races in, even if it means shortening up a bit.

12—Commandperformance (Todd Pletcher, Union Rags – Smitten, by Tapit)

He finally got that first work out of the way, breezing three panels in :37 1/5 and now we can move forward with him. Pure speculation, but assuming he needs four more works the most logical path would seem to be the Tampa Bay Derby March 12, then the Blue Grass Stakes April 9. There is no longer the luxury of waiting another week for the Arkansas Derby because Oaklawn has moved their schedule up and the Arkansas Derby is now run two weeks earlier than in the past. Perish the thought of horses running in the Kentucky Derby off only three weeks. This horse has shown too much in his first three starts to dwell on the fact that’s he’s maiden. With only having two preps before the Derby, I still would consider him a contender even he was still a maiden going into the Derby. Of course you want him to get that first victory, but we see all kind of horses win the Derby these days. He’ not quite fast enough yet with back-to-back “5” Thoro-Graph numbers, and I’m not saying right now he’s got a big shot to win the Derby. I know what I’ve seen so far and I just want him to get back in action after being out with slight bone bruising so we have an idea what we’re dealing with. But I still believe he is an exceptional colt and will be moving up.

13—Classic Causeway (Brian Lynch, Giant’s Causeway – Private World, by Thunder Gulch)

OK, Smile Happy still is ranked No. 1 and White Abarrio just ran off with the Holy Bull Stakes. Now it’s up to him to maintain the form of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, in which he split those two. All he has to do for now is avoid stablemates Smile Happy and Rattle N Roll, who handled him pretty easily last fall, and he is ready to beat anyone. He’s already shown his brilliance in his career debut at Saratoga, winning wire to wire by 6 ½ lengths in a snappy 1:22 3/5 for the seven furlongs, and judging from his last two old school works, six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 and seven furlongs in 1:26 flat, he is sitting on a monster performance in his 3-year-old debut, likely the Sam F. Davis Stakes on Saturday. The homebred son of Giant’s Causeway is bred to run all day and would vault right up there among the leading Derby contenders with an impressive victory. He ran well enough to win the Breeders’ Futurity and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, but the McPeek pair were just too tough to handle. I expect to see a better colt at 3.

14—Epicenter (Steve Asmussen, Not This Time – Silent Candy, by Candy Ride)

Back on the work tab with an easy :51 half-mile drill. With all the stamina in his female family, it would be a waste if he couldn’t learn to harness his speed and sit back off the pace rather than bust out of there every race and battle for the lead through fast fractions. That is what cost him a victory in the Lecomte Stakes. He simply went too fast early and still was able to gamely hold off the challenge of Pappacap on his inside, but was nipped right at the wire by longshot Call Me Midnight. Maybe this :51 breeze was a step in the right direction. He has two more races to figure it out, and I have confidence that between Asmussen and the longer distances of the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby, all that European stamina, combined with his own natural talent, will come out and make him a formidable foe against all the big-name invaders in the Risen Star.

15—Pappacap (Mark Casse, Gun Runner – Pappascat, by Scat Daddy)

He returned to the work tab with a solid half-mile drill in :48 3/5. Other than his third-place finish in the Lecomte Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile field has made absolutely no impact on the Derby trail. He has a chance to change that if he can somehow win the Risen Star Stakes against what promises to be the toughest field of the year with several top horses shipping in. The problem is he always runs well, but can’t seem to find a way to win, and although he ran a good race in the Lecomte, battling to the wire, he has to take a big step forward and reverse that finish and then find a way to beat shippers Smile Happy, Zandon, and Slow Down Andy. He looks to be a one-paced grinding type who always runs his race and he did look good coming off the rail and getting second behind wire-to-wire winner Corniche in the Juvenile. Now it’s time to show he can finish the job.

16—Call Me Midnight (Keith Desormeaux, Midnight Lute – Overseen, by First Defence)

The question with him is can he duplicate his narrow Lecomte victory and start showing a little consistency. Yes, the race was set up for him with the fast early pace set by Epicenter, but he did come from more than a dozen lengths back and had some good form prior to the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. As mentioned, he is the only horse from the Lecomte who is showing a good progression in his Thoro-Graph numbers, going from a “12 ¾” to an “11” to a “7 ¾” to a “5,” and if he can keep that up then he has a chance to be a legitimate Derby contender.


Forget the fact that MORELLO has had only two career starts and hasn’t been farther than seven furlongs. He has crushed his opponents in both starts, including Sunday’s Jimmy Winkfield Stakes by five widening lengths without being touched with the whip, and he’s not even bred to be a sprinter. The way he rated off the pace and was striding out in the final sixteenth with great extension shows that he should only keep getting better as the distances stretch out. Looking at the sires in his first three generations from a classic standpoint, his sire was second in the Preakness, his paternal grandsire was second in the Kentucky Derby and sired a Triple Crown winner, and his four great-grandsires have combined to win the Belmont twice, the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice, and the Travers. He still has the Gotham and Wood Memorial to make a name for himself on the Derby trail. And judging from what I’ve seen so far he could be special enough to become a major factor by the first Saturday in May. In short, I am very high on this horse.

We saw another sensational performance over the weekend. Normally, when a trainer sees two imposing Todd Pletcher horses entered in a race, both coming impressive maiden wins, one an 8 ½-length romp, and are going off at 4-5 and 2-1, he has to figure he has little shot of winning and will just hope to finish third. Pletcher’s powerful Florida forces every year are always intimidating. But Kelly Breen needed to know if his colt IN DUE TIME was Derby material and how he would do stretching out from 5 1/2 and six furlongs to a flat mile. And he no doubt had a lot of confidence in his colt taking on the Pletcher machine and was not about to back down even from one of Pletcher’s WinStar wonders. In Due Time had run two hard races, either setting or pressing a fast pace, but they were six months apart, and he had disappointed in his first start back. So when the big Pletcher favorite AMERICAN ICON went to lead as expected as the 4-5 favorite, most thought the race was over. But In Due Time showed a whole new dimension and came storming up on the outside like a fresh horse and surprisingly blew right by American Icon as if he were the 4-5 shot and quickly drew off to win by almost six lengths in 1:35 4/5 with his ears pricked. Bred by Gary and Mary West, In Due Time had to have been toughened mentally, going through the sales ring three times, selling for bargain basement prices — $9,500 as a weanling, $35,000 as a yearling, and $95,000 as a 2-year-old where he had to have shown something, bringing 10 times more than he sold for as weanling and more than double what he sold for as a yearling. By a red-hot sire out of a Curlin mare, he is a rare outcross through five generations and has very few big names in is tail-female family, but they were all hard-knocking stakes horses. Breen said he will consider the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby route, adding that he has several options. The bottom line is watch out for this guy.

In Saturday’s Swale Stakes, the Pletcher-trained MY PRANKSTER was game holding off Dean Delivers after making a nice run from fifth, but for now it looks like sprinting will be his game

Despite a mediocre record on grass and dirt, and breaking his maiden for a $50,000 claiming tab, GET BACK GOLDIE, a son of Goldencents trained by Doug O’Neill, was able to eke out a half-length victory in a Dubai sprint race. Could the UAE Derby be his target? Let’s just say he didn’t make the long trip to run in a little six-furlong race and soak in the desert air.

One horse who is improving with every start, especially with the addition of blinkers, is the Bill Mott-trained GILDED AGE, who put in strong run from far back to finish third in the Withers Stakes. With his classic pedigree, his explosive closing kick, and all the bottom he has under him, with three 1 1/16-mile races and a 1 1/8-mile race , watch out for him in the Wood Memorial. And he was awfully impressive breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs. If you liked Gilded Age’s race then you have to pay attention to Withers runner-up UN OJO, who closed from 17 lengths back and passed Gilded Age on the inside to get second. He had previously raced at Delta Downs before being turned over to the astute Tony Dutrow. In his first start with Dutrow the New York-bred son of Laoban closed fast in the seven-furlong New York Stallion Series Stakes but fell a neck short. The Withers was a big step up, but he showed he belonged in top-class company. Another to watch in the Wood Memorial.

I had to drop GIANT GAME and TIZ THE BOMB for obvious reasons, as both were very disappointing. Tiz the Bomb was washed out going in the gate and Giant Game was in perfect position down the backstretch, but quickly dropped out of it as if he had a breathing or bleeding issue, but that is pure conjecture. I wouldn’t dismiss GALT quite yet. He has proven to be a much better horse without blinkers and wasn’t beaten far for second. He just wasn’t quite ready for these horses, but should improve off this race.

It was good to see CHASING TIME back on the work tab, as he breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5. It’s still a long way off to his stakes debut in the Rebel Stakes, so until then we’ll just wait and see how he trains up to the race.

Dallas Stewart is expecting BEN DIESEL, third in the Southwest Stakes, to take another step forward in the Rebel Stakes. The homebred son of Will Take Charge was impressive breaking his maiden first time out going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill, coming from just off the pace. Going directly to the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, he pressed the pace from post 10 and finished a respectable fourth at 15-1. In the Smarty Jones Stakes run in the slop, he was forced to go to the front breaking from post 13, battled for the lead through a fast half in :46 2/5 and tired to finish seventh, but was only beaten 5 ½ lengths. In the Southwest, he broke from the rail and was taken back to fifth, almost seven lengths off the pace. He saved ground all the way, made a good run along the inside, but couldn’t match strides with Newgrange and was passed late by Barber Road. Even with the speed he has shown, he is bred more for stamina, and I like his inbreeding three times to Fappiano through his sons Unbridled, Quiet American, and Rubiano. This demonstrates the versatility of Fappiano, and Ben Diesel, as those three stallions, respectively, won the Kentucky Derby, sired a Kentucky Derby winner, and was champion sprinter.

Despite his fifth-place finish in the Southwest Stakes, DASH ATTACK could still come back for the Rebel Stakes, according to Kenny McPeek, who said the track was a little deep and cuppy and he feels he left the colt short by not doing enough with him in the morning and he got tired in the race. One horse who definitely will return in the Rebel is Southwest runner-up BARBER ROAD, who closed well to finish a strong second for trainer John Ortiz. He is as consistent as they come but needs to learn how to win.

Another big Pletcher 2-year-old finally back on the work tab is Sanford Stakes winner WIT, who breezed thee furlongs in :37 1/5 at the Stonestreet training center after having gone through a tie-back procedure or an entrapped epiglottis, which most likely curtailed his breathing in the Hopeful and Champagne. But how far he wants to go is still in question. Pletcher’s Iroquois Stakes winner MAJOR GENERAL continues to progress, working five furlongs in a sharp 1:00 3/5.

The Thoro-Graph numbers finally are in on FORBIDDEN KINGDOM’S San Vicente victories. He ran a “6” in his career debut, and in his last two starts, he ran a “6” each time, so from a Thoro-Graph standpoint he has not improved off his maiden score. We’ll see what happen when he stretches out in the San Felipe Stakes.

If you want arguably the oddest bred horse ever on the Derby trail, EAGLE IN LOVE, a gelded son of Dialed In who won his career debut February 3 by 4 1/2 lengths going a mile at Aqueduct, might fit that bill. His first three dams were bred in Panama. His broodmare sire is Jed Forest, a U.S-bred son of Gold Alert who won four individual championships in Panama, including Horse of the Year. His second dam is by the U.S,-bred Jacque Noir, who never ran. His third dam is by the Argentinian-bred Ponthieu. And his fourth dam is by, get this, Kentucky Derby winner Needles, who hasn’t been seen in a pedigree in who knows how long. Got to follow this horse.


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