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Kentucky Derby Hopefuls Emerging Early

Updated on August 28, 2012

Only a few months have passed since the Kentucky Derby was won by I’ll Have Another. As soon as the Triple Crown season ends, it’s already time to start thinking about the new crop of hopeful two-year-olds who will be beginning their careers with an eye on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, with the ultimate goal of being in the starting gate at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

We are barely into August, but a few two-year-olds are already making a splash in the division. Spurious Precision has had a nice start to his career. He is currently ranked in the top spot for 2013 Kentucky Derby hopefuls on, after pulling away to win the Grade II Saratoga Special. He shot out of the gate well and led for most of the race, holding off challenges from He’s So Fine, and In Harm’s Way. Down the stretch is where he did his best work, as he gathered steam while the rest of the field tired. Spurious Precision is trained by Richard Violette, who has another thoroughbred in the top twenty, with Carried Interest. Carried Interest beat a good field in his maiden race, which included the Todd Pletcher trained Palace Malice, another horse considered as one to watch moving forward this fall.

Pletcher also has a host of other two-year-olds that are getting a lot of attention from race fans. Shanghai Bobby started his career very early, winning his maiden race in April and then coming back two months later to claim a victory in the Track Baron at Belmont, a race that featured another up and coming colt, trained by Wesley Ward, named Handsome Jack. Pletcher is also training Jocosity, a horse who has three races under his belt already this summer, including on victory. Onetwentyeight seems to be coming along a bit slower than his other colts, but rolled strongly down the stretch to finish third to Handsome Jack and winner Bern Identity in the Grade II Sanford Stakes.

After winning his maiden race, Tim Ice’s Brown Almighty ran a nice race taking the victory in the Sunny’s Halo at Louisiana Downs. Brown Almighty is the son of Big Brown, a very popular horse that won the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He ran Sunny’s Halo on the turf and never rattled, defeating a tough Mr. Bandini’s Band, with Mark Guidry on board. Guidry is restarting his career after a four year retirement and doesn’t seem to have lost any of his immense talent for riding winners.

Don’t look now, but Paul Reddam and Doug O’Neill are back. After taking I’ll Have Another to great heights with Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins, another promising colt has emerged for the pair. Know More has some nice blood to draw from as his lineage includes Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, and Storm Cat. O’Neill wasted no time putting this horse to the test, skipping maiden races and going right to graded stakes events. At Del Mar on August 5th, Know More took to the track for the Grade II Best Pal Stakes and the Kentucky bred colt was impressive. He was consistent in his speed, settling just behind the leaders for much of the race, but was turned loose by jockey Garret Gomez right after the final turn and he didn’t disappoint. Know More bolted to the second spot and in the last 100 yards seemed to be surging as his competition, Heir Kitty, simply couldn’t match the speed.

It’s still early in the two-year-old season and more colts will emerge from their training to make an impact on the division to be sure. Other horses from this division to keep an eye on as we move towards the Breeders’ Cup is Kelly Breen’s Bern Identity, Tornado trained by Richard Hannon, and Michael Maker’s Joha. These are all thoroughbreds that have a lot of hard work in front of them if they want to make it to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. Thankfully, you can go to the Derby without ever having to run! Check out for great prices on Kentucky Derby ticket packages and events related to the Derby experience. It won’t be long until Kentucky Derby fever is back in the air!


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