is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Derby Watch: I'm an Irate Fermata, Hold Me Back!

by Kim Thomas

It's not very often that a 3-year-old colt comes from 11th of 12 horses, and puts on the power to surge ahead to win, but Hold Me Back did just that yesterday at Turfway Park (in my hometown of Florence, Kentucky) with jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard. This son of Giant Causeway is being trained by the great Bill Mott. The story (to me, anyway) here is that his mare, Restraint, daughter of Unbridled's Song, was unraced. He has three wins in four starts and has earned over a quarter million dollars, and with Hall of Famers all around him, Hold Me Back looks as if, well, there's no holdin' him back! Hehah! Since I am going to continue to take names, nothing will keep him off my not-so-logical and admittedly based-only-on-scant-information Derby Watch list!

Stardom Bound, last year's champion two-year-old filly, won the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on March 7, and deserves a big ol' Kentucky shout out. I'll holler loud for this one, since she's gray and has a great bloodline (sired by Tapit). Bless her heart, here she is at Keeneland, waiting for the Grade I Ashland Stakes on April 4. Since she's already in Kentucky, I'm going to keep my eyes on her, although she may end up in the Kentucky Oaks...which is okay...I guess. I still have a gut feeling about a gray horse winning it all this year. She also gets extra points for being a filly, she has to try harder.

Staying true to my promise to name three Derby-worthy horses each week, I have to tell you about a Euro-colt named Mafaaz (by Medicean and out of the Danehill mare Complimentary Pass), who apparently has been guaranteed a Kentucky Derby post, since he won the inaugural running of England’s Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes on March 18. At this point, I figure any horse that meets the Yum Brands' stipulations for an automatic dance card to the Derby probably has a good shot once he leaves the Churchill starting gate. I still can't force myself to call it the "Kentucky Derby Sponsored by Yum (trademark mark) Brands yadda yadda. " It's the Derby, dammit!

(all photos courtesy of Tom Eisenhauer Photography)

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