Under-the-radar Kentucky Derby contenders, volume 6
Here is our weekly look at under-the-radar 3-year-olds who could step up and make an impact on the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby.
Lost in the excitement of Ete Indien’s decisive Fountain of Youth (G2) triumph was Candy Tycoon’s game, runner-up effort. A slow start left the normally frontrunning son of Twirling Candy near the back of the pack, but Candy Tycoon shrugged off this change in tactics with aplomb.
After he saved ground around the first turn, Candy Tycoon shifted out and rallied wide in the stretch to gamely win a four-way battle for second place. This was a big step in the right direction for Candy Tycoon, who has shown steady improvement since he stretched out in distance for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Though the race didn’t offer any Kentucky Derby (G1) qualification points, Full Flat arguably joined the Road to the Kentucky Derby with his decisive score in the $1 million Saudi Derby on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.
Against a large field, Full Flat was always prominent under jockey Yutaka Take and was much the best. He seized command around the turn and cruised to a comfortable, 2 1/4-length victory.
Based in Japan with trainer Mori Hideyuki, Full Flat finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and defeated a quality field in the Saudi Derby, with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) runner-up Billy Batts and four-time stakes winner Rowdy Yates among his rivals.
The March 28 UAE Derby (G2) in Dubai is next on the agenda for Full Flat, who is a classily bred son of Speightstown, out of a Medaglia d’Oro mare.
He never had a chance to challenge in the Smarty Jones S., which featured a slow pace over a speed-favoring muddy track. A return to fairer footing Saturday made all the difference, as Shared Sense rallied to victory in a 1-mile optional-claiming allowance at Oaklawn Park.
With a well-timed ride from Joe Talamo, the Brad Cox trainee resolutely prevailed after a long stretch battle. He sprinted the final furlong in :12.15 to win by a nose in 1:37.11.
A Godolphin homebred, Shared Sense is a stoutly bred son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, out of a mare by 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini. Expect Shared Sense to improve with maturity and jump back into stakes company soon.