Yesterday’s Winners Becoming Today’s Stars
Posted by Brian Appleton on June 29, 2010
The last half of the racing year is upon us and from all points of view it looks like the year is set to end with some spectacular racing. This past weekend showcased more fresh faces to keep an eye on in the upcoming months and some that will no doubt be making a strong presence for the rest of the year.
The most impressive performance of the week was quite possibly Concord Point’s record setting Iowa Derby win. Not only did the gray/roan son of Tapit demolish a solid field of three-year-olds that included Winslow Homer, Vow to Wager and Thiskyhasnolimit by 8 ½ lengths, he also shattered the track record for 1 1/16 miles by about half a second. I, like many fans watching the races last week, believed the Iowa Derby was going to herald the triumphant return of Holy Bull Stakes winner Winslow Homer to the races. Instead this turned out to be a performance much like Afleet Express winning the Pegasus Stakes over such well known three year olds as Jackson Bend and Schoolyard Dreams the weekend before last. We’ll all want to be keeping an eye on this Bob Baffert trainee this summer to see what kind of races his connections decide to run him in.
If Concord Point’s Iowa Derby wasn’t the most impressive victory of the weekend the Exhi certainly takes top billing
with his Victoria Park Stakes victory. With jockey Robby Albarado taking a stout hold of Exhi right from the get-go, the talented colt stormed to the lead, spreading his beautiful stride just enough to maintain a short advantage down the backside before breezing home in a flawless front-running victory. Under the line it was 8 lengths back to the show horse. This makes it four consecutive wins for the dark bay son of Maria’s Mon, a streak that includes victories in the Lexington Stakes, Rushaway Stakes and Marine Stakes. Trainer Todd Pletcher once again proves that he has a very powerful hand of three-year-old stars this year.
Just Louise is doing her very best to live up the high standard set forth by her multiple graded stakes winning half sister Sara Louise. In Churchill Downs Debutante Stakes (gr.3) last Saturday Just Louise fought her way to the lead in the stretch, then lost it to Salty Strike and Calvin Borel on the inside rail before showing her true colors and fighting back the entire length of the stretch to regain the lead and attain victory. She is now undefeated in two starts. She displayed the same tenacity in the Debutante shown by her half sister Sara Louise in last year’s Gallant Bloom, a race in which Sara Louise lost by a head to Champion Indian Blessing after one of the year’s most incredibly furious stretch battles.
The future looks brighter every weekend for some of racings new and upcoming stars. There are always new surprises around the corner in racing and right now they appear quite pleasant.