Kentucky Derby contender profile: Attachment Rate

August 20th, 2020

The purse of the Kentucky Derby (G1) is traditionally split among the first five finishers, which should suit Attachment Rate just fine, because finishing fifth or better in major stakes races is a course of habit for this improving colt.

Trainer Dale Romans purchased Attachment Rate for $200,000 as a yearling, on behalf of owners Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister, an acquisition with the potential to pay great dividends when Attachment Rate heads to the Churchill Downs starting gate to compete for a share of $3 million in the Run for the Roses.

Attachment Rate has come a long way since his debut at Churchill Downs last summer. Disregarded at 35-1 in a maiden sprint, he faded steadily to finish 11th, and he subsequently spent six months on the sideline before he returned to finish second in another maiden dash at Gulfstream Park.

Since then, Attachment Rate has made steady progress. When he stretched out to a mile at Gulfstream, Attachment Rate splashed his way over a sloppy track to dominate by 6 1/4 lengths, which prompted his participation in the 1-mile Gotham (G3) on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. After he fell back back to eighth place early, Attachment Rate rallied gamely to finish third, beaten just two lengths for all the money.

Attachment Rate continued to knock heads with quality competition through the spring and summer. He finished second in the Unbridled S., fourth in the Matt Winn (G3), and fifth in the Blue Grass (G2), despite repeatedly drawing outside post positions.

He endured yet another wide journey when he broke from post 10 in the 1 1/8-mile Ellis Park Derby on Aug. 9, but he nevertheless fought on to finish second by 3 1/4 lengths against the acclaimed Art Collector.

A son of 2007 Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun, out of a mare by 2005 Preakness (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Afleet Alex, Attachment Rate is bred to enjoy classic distances. Usually a late runner, he showed more tactical speed than usual in the Ellis Park Derby, possibly a sign this chestnut colt is reaching peak form just in time for the Kentucky Derby.

With a career-best 98 Brisnet Speed rating, Attachment Rate isn’t the fastest horse in the prospective Kentucky Derby field. But his consistency and willingness to fight hard for the minor awards could help him outrun expectations on the first Saturday in September.