Homeracing

Three-year-olds on display on both coasts

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

February 3rd, 2019

Three months before the top three-year-old colts in the land gather for the latest edition of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday in May, a bevy of talented sophomores were on display on the first Saturday in February at Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita.

In the early portion of the Aqueduct card, Motagally (Manny Franco) easily lived up to his role as the 3-4 favorite in a nine-furlong maiden special weight race when he bided his time just off the leader through modest early fractions, surged to command at the head of the lane then drew clear late to a three-length score while stopping the timer in 1:52.06 in the one-mile and one-eighth. A sophomore son of Union Rags trained by Chad Brown, Motagally notched his first career win in four career.

Several races later in the Grade III, $250,000 Withers Stakes for three-year-olds going nine furlongs, Tax (Jose Alvarado) broke a step slow at the start, hustled through along the rail to secure good early position behind Not That Brady and Our Braintrust, bided his time behind the top pair through the far turn, found room along the rail at the head of the lane and just got through the lane to prevail by a pair of heads in 1:50.23. The sophomore son of Arch trained by Danny Gargan notched his second victory in four starts and pushed his career earnings toward $200,000.

That same afternoon at Gulfstream Park, Harvey Wallbanger (Bryan Hernandez) posted a 29-1 shocker in the Grade II, $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes when he saved ground down the backside and through the far turn and rallied inside late to overhaul 99-1 shot Everfast and 4-5 choice Maximus Mischief to prevail by a neck in 1:43.48 for the one-mile and one-sixteenth. A sophomore son of Congrats trained by Kenny McPeek, Harvey Wallbanger notched his second win in five starts and pushed his career earnings past $300,000.

Maximus Mischief suffered the first setback in four starts in his career, but the sophomore son of Into Mischief may have lost all chance prior to the race courtesy of his pre-race antics in the paddock. Maximus Mischief could make amends in the Fountain of Youth while Harvey Wallbanger seems like an untrustworthy sort moving forward after enjoying a perfect trip at a big price.

One race earlier in the Grade III, $150,000 Swale Stakes for three-year-old colts and geldings, Call Paul lived up to his role as the 3-2 favorite when he overcame a slow start then rallied four-wide on the far turn and overhauled the leaders in the lane to score by two lengths in 1:23.43 for the seven panels. A Pennsylvania-bred sophomore son of Friesan Fire trained by Jason Servis, Call Paul kicked off his three-year-old campaign with a solid score and now sports four wins from six starts overall with nearly $370,000 banked.

Then one race earlier in the Grade III, $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes for three-year-old fillies, Feedback just lived up to her billing as the 1-2 favorite when she broke well, surged to command on the far turn and just outlasted the late surge of Bye Bye J to prevail by a length in 1:23.51. A sophomore daughter of Violence trained by Chad Brown and idle since winning her debut Saratoga last August, Feedback remained perfect in two starts and pushed her career earnings past $135,000.

There were also three maiden special weight events for three-year-olds on the card and all three proved moderately revealing.

In the first of the three, Violencia forged a 5-1 upset when she broke well, dueled with 4-5 choice Palomita down the backside and through the far turn, shook loose from that one then drew clear in the lane to a six-length score while stopping the timer in 1:09.70 in her career debut. The sophomore daughter of Violence trained by Rodolphe Brissette would deliver the most impressive performance of the day among debuting maidens.

Two races later in the first of two maiden special weight events for three-year-old colts, Who's In Charge posted a 24-1 shocker when he held safe Fortune's Fool and Where Paradise Lay for a neck score in 1:10.41, while favored Final Say offered little in his career debut. Then in the finale, Soldado, who had worked in company with Final Say in the mornings, posted a mild 5-1 upset when he rallied to overhaul 6-5 favorite Honest Mischief in 1:10.13 in his career debut.

Later that same afternoon at Santa Anita, deluged by nearly three inches of rain, Mucho Gusto (Joe Talamo) easily lived up to his role as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade III, $150,000 when he stalked the leader down the backside, surged to command on the far turn then splashed home five lengths clear in 1:35.57 for the one mile. A sophomore son of Mucho Macho Man trained by Bob Baffert, Mucho Gusto kicked off his three-year-old campaign in sharp fashion and now owns three wins from four starts with earnings of $234,000.

One race earlier in a one-turn maiden special weight event for three-year-old colts, Omaha Beack kicked off a chalky start to the inflated Rainbow Pick 6 pool when he swept to command on the far turn and romped home eight lengths clear in 1:21.04 for the seven panels. A sophomore son of War Front trained by Richard Mandella, Omaha Beach rebounded from three straight second-place finishes as the choice to notch his first win in five starts for Fox Hill Farms.
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