All two-year-old horses have turned three on January 1. Every owner and trainer with a brand new three year old is wondering, “Can this horse make a run for the Derby?” Every owner and trainer is going to putting their horses into spots to see if their dream will come true.
When we were at the track on New Year’s Eve, we watched horses being paraded from the paddocks to the saddling area and then to the mounting area. These horses were not in a race but they were two year olds, whose birthdays were going to be the next day. All the trainers wanted to see was how these horses would react if the horse were actually going to race. The trainers will not leave any stone unturned when it comes to possibly having the next Derby winner.
Talking about spots. This past weekend in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita, Out Of Bounds beat the 1-2 favorite Secret Circle. This was the first prep race of the season for Santa Anita.
Secret Circle was last year’s Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Sprint winner. This is something that I look at when I handicap the Kentucky Derby. If a horse has won a Breeder’s Cup race, don’t bet him. It’s not science, it is my superstition, and I have been right for as long as I can remember. Secret Circle came into this race with four career wins for Bob Baffert. This was his first race as a three year old and the betting public was betting him like he already won the race. This was the first time that Secret Circle was stretching to a mile after he proved that he could win sprint races.
Out of Bounds sat back and watched Secret Circle and Longview Drive battle it out coming into the stretch. Out of Bounds ran to the outside of the battling horses and won the mile race by a half-length. Out of Bounds looked like it had a real good kick in the stretch.
Eoin Harty, Out of Bounds’ trainer, said that they would place Out of Bounds in another Derby prep race. He was unsure of which one.
A lot will happen from now until the first weekend in May and that is what is so exciting about this time of year at the track.