What new horses have sparked interest on the Kentucky Derby trail?
A weekly series analyzing recent maiden winners poised to join the Road to the Kentucky Derby:
Beg to Differ:
The third time was the charm for Beg to Differ, who romped to an easy maiden victory on Friday at Aqueduct. A one-run closer in his first two starts, the Jonathan Thomas trainee showed improved tactical speed while negotiating a mile against New York-breds, tracking the pace in third place before looping around the leaders to win by 6 1/2 lengths in 1:39.42. A homebred racing for My Meadowview Farm, Beg to Differ is a son of Stephanoatsee out of the stakes-placed More Than Ready mare Strike Twice. Having turned the corner with a maiden triumph, further improvement could be on the horizon for Beg to Differ.
With just four timed workouts under his belt, none of them particularly fast, Cajun Brother wasn’t expected to deliver a winning debut on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. Sprinting 6 furlongs against a high-quality field, the gelded son of Cajun Breeze was disregarded by bettors at 36-1. But after dueling with well-bet Ima Pharoah through fast fractions of :22.24 and :45.28, Cajun Brother refused to yield down the lane, battling on to edge his rival by three-quarters of a length. Conditioned by Michael Yates, the Shadybrook Farm homebred stopped the timer in 1:11.36 and should only improve off this promising debut.
Sold for $750,000 as a yearling, Extraordinary knocked heads with some capable runners in his Feb. 8 debut at Tampa Bay Downs, finishing fourth behind future Tampa Bay Derby (G2) third-place finisher Texas Swing and next-out maiden winner Giocare. With this effort under his belt, Extraordinary showed significant improvement while stretching out to a mile on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. After pushing the pace through fractions of :23.55, :46.29, and 1:10.99, the son of Speightstown powered clear down the lane to win by 6 1/4 lengths in the solid time of 1:36.88. Produced by the four-time graded stakes-winning Pulpit mare Fiftyshadesofhay, Extraordinary is trained by Rodolphe Brisset for the partnership of WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and Stonestreet Stables.