Yesterday’s races in Florida helped to sharpen the derby picture with two impressive victories by Flashpoint and Soldat. All eyes were focused on Gulfstream Park and the two performances did not disappoint. I’m sure there was plenty of buzz on the backside, but other horses created a small amount of buzz in the derby world worth mentioning. East coast racing is gearing up as well as international racing from the French Riviera.
JJ’s Lucky Train scored a big win in the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park. Runner-up to Toby’s Corner in the Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 5, JJ’s Lucky Train headed south to the Old Line State where out dueled favored Bandbox winning by a neck. The 7 furlong race was a good indication of where JJ’s Lucky Train stands on the road to the derby. With a speed pedigree, it is likely that he won’t compete in the triple crown races, but things can change. Look for JJ’s Lucky Train to return to Aqueduct to compete in the G.III Bay Shore Stakes on April 9.
With Crossbow’s defection from the Hutcheson, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin confirmed that he would be sending his colt to New York for the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. Crossbow drew the one hole for the Hutcheson. McLaughlin did not like the speed factor or the post position and scratched the morning of the race.
Trainer Cristophe Ferland’s dreams of making the derby with his Kentucky bred colt Mount Pelato hit a snag at Cagnes-sur-Mer in the Prix Policeman. Mount Pelato led for half the race then hit a wall finishing 9th in the contest behind 20-1 winner Inscrutable. Ferland has not ruled out running in the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland, but his chances of making the derby field look to be slim.
It was another great weekend of racing, and as the calendar changes over to March racing to the derby begins to heat up even more. We look forward to derby preps this coming weekend from Aqueduct and Turfway Park.
There are only 69 days until the Kentucky Derby. Let us know who you like as the road to the derby moves forward.
Written by Big Brink