The term “key race” is synonymous with a race that has produced multiple horses that have run well following the said event. And a perfect example of a key race is one that was the third race held at Santa Anita on April 19. Seven horses went postward in the 4 1/2-furlong dash, and what the youngsters that have come out of that race have done since has been superb.
The winner of the maiden dash was Fore Left from the barn of Doug O’Neill. The Kentucky-bred son of Twirling Candy led throughout to win on debut, and he returned to dominate his foes at Belmont Park in a sharp Tremont triumph. $97,000 yearling purchase appears to have an especially bright future.
Phantom Boss was runner-up in his first offering in the race, and he came right back to graduate at Santa Anita second out. Shipped to Churchill Downs for his third engagement, the Shackleford colt was the 3-2 choice in Saturday’s Bashford Manor (G3) and didn’t disappoint. The Jorge Periban pupil defeated a solid field of contenders en route to his first stakes tally.
Verb remain a maiden but gave a nice account of himself at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Conditioned by Keith Desormeaux, the Dialed In colt dueled for the lead to the top of the lane before ultimately finishing third in the Bashford Manor. The colt has been third in each of his three assignments this campaign and is among the more accomplished maidens in training. He will graduate soon.
Raging Whiskey finished in a dead-heat for third with the aforementioned Verb in that dash and came back to post a 2 1/4-length triumph for conditioner Luis Mendez. The Bourbon Courage colt posted a healthy 87 BRIS Speed figure for his work and could be stakes bound before long.
The Val Brinkerhoff-trained Bobs Blues Man was a well-beaten fifth in the loaded maiden event when going postward at 49-1. The Can the Man gelding showed improvement in his subsequent outing when finishing second-best in a $50,000 maiden claiming contest at Santa Anita. The bay could make good in his third lifetime performance with a forward move.
Restoring Dreams has finished fourth and sixth following his sixth-place finish in the April 19 maiden run. The $110,000 Candy Ride colt has shown early foot in each of his tries to this point, and his dam is a half-sister to a multiple stakes queen who thrived on the turf and synthetic surfaces. Tab this one for success if/when he opts for a run on the green or all-weather.
Twirling Derby was never involved in his debut and has no published works since late May. However, with the success of the runners exiting the April 19 maiden tilt, we would suggest putting this dark bay colt in your horses to watch list.
In total, the April maiden dash at Santa Anita has produced two good-looking stakes winners, a graded-placed juvenile, an impressive next-out graduate, a two-year-old who finished second, as well as a pair of youngsters that should not be taken lightly going forward.
It is not easy to define a key race when it occurs. But when you do envision one, there is money to be made.
(c) Horsephotos.com/Kathleen O’Leary