Kentucky Derby Maiden Watch: Cox colts shine at Fair Grounds

December 24th, 2023

A pair of 1 1/16-mile maiden special weights contested at Fair Grounds on Saturday could have 2024 Kentucky Derby (G1) implications.

The first and faster division went to Ethan Energy, a son of champion two-year-old male and successful stallion Uncle Mo, who counts 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist among his progeny.

Ethan Energy never factored in his debut sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs against maiden special weight competition at Keeneland; after breaking slowly, he rallied only mildly to finish sixth by nine lengths. But he improved dramatically while stretching out around two turns for his second start at Fair Grounds. After settling in fifth place early on, roughly four lengths behind splits of :24.27 and :48.63, Ethan Energy launched a powerful rally to seize command in the homestretch and dominate by 5 1/4 lengths in 1:44.98.

A Stonestreet Stables homebred conditioned by Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Brad Cox, Ethan Energy is progressing in the right direction and looks like a Road to the Kentucky Derby contender in the making. Don’t be surprised if he turns up in the Lecomte (G3) or Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds this winter.

The same goes for Mosaico Man, who prevailed in the second division of Saturday’s maiden special weight. Like Ethan Energy, Mosaico Man is a son of Uncle Mo trained by Brad Cox. And like his stablemate, Mosaico Man is trending in a promising direction.

Mosaico Man debuted in a one-mile maiden special weight at Horseshoe Indianapolis, where he tracked a slow pace before battling across the finish line in first place by a neck. But he was disqualified to second place for interfering with the pacesetting runner-up.

Still, Mosaico Man showed tenacity in his debut, and he displayed it again at Fair Grounds. After rating in sixth place behind fractions of :24.29, :48.29, and 1:12.87, Mosaico Man rallied from roughly 3 1/2 lengths behind to catch the pace-tracking Funnyflame and prevail by a head in 1:45.80.

Bred by Aaron Sones and owned by James F. Schurman, Mosaico Man was produced by the Street Cry mare Heat Street, giving him a pedigree geared strongly toward success running long. He’s not as fast as Ethan Energy just yet, but Mosaico Man is bred to relish the Kentucky Derby’s 1 1/4-mile distance, so keep an eye on this promising bay colt.