Kentucky Derby contender profile: Crossfirehurricane

March 2nd, 2020

Crossfirehurricane has the talent to compete in the 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs. His ability has been apparent from an early age, nut does he have the pedigree to excel on the first Saturday in May?

Bred in Kentucky by Glen Hill Farm and Scott Heider, Crossfirehurricane wasted no time demonstrating his ability on track. Under the care of young trainer Joseph O’Brien, Crossfirehurricane debuted in a 7-furlong maiden dash over the turf course at Limerick in June and carried the Heider silks to a late-running, 11-1 upset.

Despite this early success, Crossfirehurricane was not seen under colors again until Feb. 7, when he returned to action in a 7-furlong race for 3-year-olds over the Polytrack course at Dundalk. Employing the same closing tactics he demonstrated on debut, Crossfirehurricane flashed to the front in the final furlong and dominated by 3 1/2 lengths.

The strength of this performance was reiterated when Crossfirehurricane stepped up in class and distance for the 1-mile Patton S. at Dundalk, a European Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race offering 20 qualification points to the winner.

With a bit more early speed than usual, Crossfirehurricane rallied with determination in the homestretch to edge stablemate Choice of Mine by half-length. Orchid Gardens and Dutch Admiral, both soundly beaten by Crossfirehurricane Feb. 7, rounded out the Patton superfecta.

Even with that promise and an undefeated record, Crossfirehurricane seems unlikely to take a shot at the Kentucky Derby. The chestnut colt is not nominated to the Triple Crown, which is hardly a surprising development, considering his pedigree. As a son of champion turf horse Kitten’s Joy, whose progeny have almost exclusively excelled on grass and synthetic courses, Crossfirehurricane isn't bred to relish the dirt track at Churchill Downs.

European classics could be on the agenda for Crossfirehurricane. He is among the early entries for the May 27 Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) and the June 27 Irish Derby (G1), so should his connections forego a trip to the Kentucky Derby, there will be plenty of prestigious grass races for Crossfirehurricane to target throughout the spring and summer.