The internationally renowned Godolphin stable has spent more than 20 years trying to win the Kentucky Derby. They’ve saddled 11 starters in the “Run for the Roses” since 1999, with a fourth-place effort from Frosted in 2015 ranking as their best finish.
But Godolphin appears to hold a very strong hand for the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Not only do they own the undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Essential Quality, they also campaign the exciting Prevalence, who delivered a stunning debut victory on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
But Prevalence wasn’t the only impressive winner over the weekend. Across the country at Santa Anita, the graded stakes-placed The Great One secured his first victory in spectacular fashion, reiterating his status as an up-and-coming Road to the Kentucky Derby contender.
Let’s look back and see what transpired:
A beautifully bred son of Medaglia d’Oro out of a Ghostzapper mare, Prevalence was nothing less than spectacular in his debut sprinting 7 furlongs at Gulfstream. He wasn’t the most popular choice with bettors, starting at 7-1 against 11 rivals. Perhaps handicappers were concerned Prevalence wouldn’t be primed for a peak effort on debut, considering trainer Brendan Walsh strikes at just an 8% rate with first-time starters.
But any doubts about Prevalence’s readiness were quickly dismissed. After breaking just a step slowly, Prevalence rushed up to duel for the lead while racing inside of longshot Rabdan and the highly regarded Stage Raider, a half-brother to 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify.
Following splits of :22.66 and :46.09, Prevalence was clearly moving strongest. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione glanced back at the quarter pole to look for competition, and—seeing none—elected to give Prevalence a bare minimum of encouragement down the homestretch. Yet Prevalence still drew off with completely authority, sprinting the final furlong in a solid :12.55 to win by 8 1/2 lengths in 1:23.00.
This was a powerful performance from a colt who is bred to stretch out and improve with maturity, so at this point, the sky is the limit for Prevalence’s potential. He appears to have a very bright future.
The Great One
It’s safe to say The Great One has improved by leaps and bounds this winter. After failing to crack the trifecta in his first three starts over a variety of surfaces and distances, The Great One took a big step forward when finishing second in the Dec. 19 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), beaten a nose after carving out the pace.
Back against fellow maidens at Santa Anita last Saturday, The Great One delivered his best performance to date. After tracking fast fractions of :22.91 and :45.76 set by 11-10 favorite Fenway, The Great One pounced to the lead under jockey Abel Cedillo. Clear by half a dozen lengths at the eighth pole, the ERJ Racing colorbearer continued to pour on speed down the stretch, crossing the wire 14 lengths in front while stopping the timer in 1:37.28 for a mile.
The Great One only defeated three rivals, but the fact he won by such a large margin after tracking fast fractions is impressive. A son of 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, The Great One is quickly progressing in the right direction for two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill. A return to graded stakes company figures to be next on the horizon.