IRISH WAR CRY SOUNDS OFF ON DERBY TRAIL
EMPIRE DOES NOT STRIKE
The racy chestnut son of Curlin, IRISH WAR CRY led all the way in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, ruining the return of last year’s champion 2-year-old CLASSIC EMPIRE, many people’s Kentucky Derby favourite. The winner loped along on a slow pace and then powered away from a closing Gunnevera (Dialed In) to win handily with a 95 Beyer Figure. The runner-up, stopped on the turn on the rail, finished well while Classic Empire stalled after a perfect trip.
Quotes from the race:
GRAHAM MOTION –
There’s nothing quite like being involved in these 3-year-old races. It’s a great atmosphere here today. It’s what we all like to do. It’s pretty exciting.”
“He’s a really nice horse and I was obviously really high on him, but when you’re running against the juvenile champion, you have reservations. I was torn. I was toying with the idea of running in the Sam Davis [at Tampa Bay Downs, Feb. 11]. I thought it might be a little easier race, because he’s so lightly raced. But the more I looked at it, the way he was working, I just thought we had to take a shot today.”
“I kind of thought we’d inherit the lead. I told [jockey] Joel [Rosario] I wanted him to settle. I didn’t want to get to telling him what to do. I had a feeling we’d end up on the lead. I thought the favorite might be on the lead, but he inherited the lead and he was very confident.”
On $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2), March 4 and the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) April 1 as possible targets – “I really haven’t gotten beyond today. I don’t know if I want to run in every race. It will be hard enough to run back in one of them, obviously, but we’ll figure it out.”
MARK CASSE – : “He gets a little hot, but maybe hotter than normal, so I don’t know. We will regroup. He had no excuse that way [in where he was positioned] ; none whatsoever. They kind of tried to pin him in a little bit on the first turn and [jockey] Julien [Leparoux] used a little bit of him. We had a good trip.”
Jockey Julien Leparoux (Classic Empire, 3rd): “We had a good trip. I got in the clear on the first turn and there was really no excuse. He came back good and we’ll see what happens. He got a little bit warm [warming up] but after that we a good trip and every chance and he just didn’t kick at the end.”
EL AREEB CONTINUES TO PLAY
The grey Exchange Rate colt EL AREEB won his fourth straight race in the Withers at Aqueduct on Saturday, posting a 92 Beyer Figure while winning quite easily. This guy raced 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.47 and was ridden by Trevor McCarthy for trainer Cathal Lynch and owner MMG Stable.
The winner is a son fo the Sam-Son farms-bred mare FEATHERED DIAMOND, a daughter of A.P. Indy – Somestimesadiamond. A winner once in 8 races, Feathered Diamond is a half sister to Dixieland Diamond, a top 2yo in Canada. The 3rd dam is the Sam-Son foundation mare Loudrangle.
El Areeb was a 4100,000 yearling and a $340,000 2yo purchase.
MO DERBY CONTENDERS
ROYAL MO won the Robert Lewis at Santa Anita and his front running score earned the Uncle Mo colt a 92 Beyer Figure for 1/16 miles in 1:43 26, He is a $300,000 purchase owned by the Moss family (Zenyatta fame). The maiden IRAP, owned by Canadian J. Paul Reddam was 2nd and he is a Tiznow colt out of the Canadian champion SILKEN CAT.