Confidence Game – Kentucky Derby Context

April 24th, 2023

After leading all the way in his first two wins, Confidence Game showed his versatility winning the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park in late February, rating just off the pace in fifth along the backstretch before commencing his rally on the far turn. The dark bay colt looked good recording a one-length win on the sloppy track, earning the necessary points for a Kentucky Derby berth.

Confidence Game then bypassed another prep race, training up to the first Saturday in May off a 10-week layoff. That’s an unproven strategy. His tactical ability offers appeal, but the lack of a start beyond 1 1/16 miles, coupled with his best race coming on a wet track and the failure to earn a triple-digit Brisnet Speed number (career-best 95 figure), rate as legitimate concerns.

Top Brisnet Speed: 95

Top Brisnet Late Pace: 87

Owner: Based in Fort Worth, Texas, Don’t Tell My Wife Stables was founded by Kirk Godby and Rob Slack, and the company’s partnerships have attracted more than 100 new owners to Thoroughbred racing. Trainer Keith Desormeaux, who stables horses in California, Kentucky, and Louisiana, serves as their bloodstock agent. My Boy Jack finished fifth in the 2019 Kentucky Derby for Don’t Tell My Wife Stables.

Trainer: A rallying second in the 2016 Kentucky Derby, Exaggerator provided Keith Desormeaux with his best result from three previous starts in the first leg of the American Triple Crown. Exaggerator captured the Preakness two weeks later.

Jockey: James Graham will make his third Kentucky Derby start, his top result being an eighth aboard Lone Sailor in 2018.

Breeder/Sales: Desormeaux found Confidence Game in the 2021 Keeneland September sale, purchasing the yearling colt for $25,000 for his owners. And what a bargain find it was, as Confidence Game has earned $785,525 from a 7-3-1-2 record so far.  The colt was bred in Kentucky by Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Farm, the breeder and co-owner of 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline. Game Winner’s fifth in 2019 is Summer Wind’s best result as a breeder in the Kentucky Derby.

Sire: Unbeaten from six starts, Candy Ride was named champion miler in Argentina after establishing a new world record at a mile on turf (1:31.01). The Argentinian-bred son of Ride the Rails won both U.S. appearances, establishing a new track record when easily defeating odds-on Medaglia d’Oro in the 2003 Pacific Classic (G1) at 1 1/4 miles (1:59.11), before heading to stud. A top-class stallion, Candy Ride is best known for siring 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, the record-breaking leading freshman sire in 2021 and sire of 2022 Preakness winner Early Voting. Gun Runner’s third in the 2016 Kentucky Derby is the best result so far for Candy Ride, who will also have Hit Show in the 2023 field. Candy Ride stands at Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky.

Dam: Confidence Game is the first stakes winner from Eblouissante, a well-bred daughter of Bernardini. She hails from the Kris S. mare Vertigineux, the Broodmare of the Year in 2008. That makes Eblouissante a half-sister to Hall of Famer Zenyatta, the 2010 Horse of the Year and earner of more than $7.3 million, and three-time Grade 1-winning millionaire Sharp Cat. Bernardini, the 2006 champion three-year-old male and Preakness winner, is the broodmare sire of 2019 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress, and he’s by A.P. Indy.

Further Reading on Confidence Game

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