Kentucky Derby Maiden Watch: Perfect Munnings, Weyburn impress at Aqueduct
Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher is quietly compiling a promising roster of contenders for the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1). One of his latest colts to follow is Perfect Munnings, a sharp grass maiden winner with the potential to improve on dirt.
Perfect Munnings is one of two potential Road to the Kentucky Derby contenders we’ll highlight in this week’s Kentucky Derby Maiden Watch.
A son of capable sprinter/miler Munnings out of a mare by Medaglia d’Oro, Perfect Munnings boasts a pedigree combining speed with stamina. The New York-bred colt drew plenty of wagering support in his Nov. 29 debut at Aqueduct, but arguably exceeded expectations with a clear-cut victory.
Dashing 6 furlongs over the outer turf course, Perfect Munnings broke alertly and soon settled in third place as the leader went a quarter in :22.64 and a half in :46.70. Steered outside for racing room in the homestretch, Perfect Munning rallied readily when called upon by jockey Jose Ortiz, beating a strung-out field of New York-bred rivals by two lengths in 1:11.85.
Considering Perfect Munnings is bred to thrive on dirt, it will be interesting to see if Pletcher gives the dark bay colt a try on the main track this winter. The JP Racing Stable colorbearer could develop into a Kentucky Derby candidate if he handles the surface switch.
After finishing fifth and second in his first two starts, the third time proved to be the charm for Weyburn and trainer Jimmy Jerkens, who graduated nicely in a 7-furlong sprint on Saturday at Aqueduct. Favored at just over even-money, Weyburn flashed speed from the start, dueling for the lead through splits of :23.39 and :47.14 over a sloppy track. After turning away his pace rivals, Weyburn held off a late rally from Officiating to score by 1 1/2 lengths.
Weyburn completed the distance in 1:25.59, while Officiating pulled 3 3/4 lengths clear of the rest. The fact Weyburn has shown potential sprinting is encouraging, considering he’s a son of Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneer of the Nile (sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah) out of a mare by Belmont Stakes (G1) winner A.P. Indy, a renowned source of stamina. Stretching out in distance should suit Weyburn just fine, stamping the Chiefswood Stables homebred as an up-and-comer to watch for trainer Jimmy Jerkens.