Winter Book Value

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 8, 2008 in General Discussion, News | No Comments >>

Even with five months to go before the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Old Fashioned is gaining recognition as a horse to watch.

Old Fashioned, owned by Fox Hill Farm’s Rick Porter of Wilmington, jumped into the national spotlight on Nov. 29th, romping to a 7 1/4 length win in the Grade II Remsen Stakes for 2-year-olds at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y.

Trained by Delaware Park-and Fair Hill, Md.-based Larry Jones, Old Fashioned has three wins in three career starts.

The heavily-favored Old Fashioned went 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.33. He went to the lead out of the gate and never gave it up. He went the first quarter in 24.41 seconds, then jockey Ramon Dominguez slowed the pace somewhat, with a 49.44 mark at the half-mile pole.

Dominguez only tapped the colt left-handed once to make sure he stayed straight on, as he drew away in the stretch.

The son of Unbridled’s Song, won his first two career races, both at Delaware Park, this fall.

“He was certainly impressive,” Porter said. “It’s interesting to note that the initial fractions were very moderate for the first three quarters [of a mile], but he came home the last three eighths in 36.1 [seconds]. He went the last eighth of a mile in 12 1/5. To tell you the truth, when he got through the first turn galloping out he must have been 50 lengths in front. It was like he wanted to go around again.”

It was the second Remsen win for a Porter horse in the last five years. Rockport Harbor won the 2004 Remsen, despite suffering an injury to his right hind foot in the race. Rockport Harbor missed the 2005 Triple Crown races and was retired early in 2006.

Porter said he wasn’t worried before Old Fashioned took his shot at the Remsen because of what happened to Rockport Harbor.

“No, I didn’t think about it before this race,” Porter said. “I try not to think about bad things that happen. I sort of block them out of my mind the best I can. I just know Rocky ran a great, gutsy race that day.”

The Porter-Jones connection has finished second in the Kentucky Derby the past two years with Hard Spun in 2007 and the late Eight Belles in 2008.

Unbridled’s Song is also the father of Eight Belles and Rockport Harbor.

“It’s exciting, just amazing to think we might be lucky enough to possibly have a quality horse to take to the Derby for a third straight year,” Porter said. “We were really fortunate the last two Derbys to finish second. After what happened to Eight Belles it would be great to take another Unbridled’s Song grey back to Churchill and possibly win the race. However, that’s a long, long way off in horse racing, but it’s a good dream to have. We just want to keep him physically sound and improving all the time.”

Old Fashioned broke his maiden at six furlongs, when he beat Sunday Blitz at Delaware Park on Oct. 6 by a nose. The next time out he won by 15 1/2 lengths in a one-mile allowance on Nov. 3.

The Kentucky-bred Old Fashioned was an $800,000 purchase at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.

“I always like to take a look at the Unbridled’s Song yearlings,” Porter said. “We’ve been fortunate to have good luck with his offspring.”

This week Jones shipped Old Fashioned and the rest of his horses from the Fair Hill Training Center to the Fairgrounds in New Orleans for the winter.

Porter said it may be a couple of months before Old Fashioned makes his next start as a 3-year-old.

“Larry and I have talked and we think there is nothing to do for awhile,” Porter said. “What we plan on doing if he stays sound is not to run him in December or January. In February we hope to enter him in the Grade II Risen Star at a mile and a sixteenth, followed up by the Louisiana Derby.”

Porter isn’t surprised at the news out of Las Vegas that Old Fashioned is already the Future Book Derby favorite.

“After the sale I heard his odds were something like 150-1,” said Porter. “After he won his maiden they were 50-1 and dropped to 40-1 after the allowance race at Delaware. Now, he’s won the Remsen, so that also helped. We don’t worry about any of that kind of stuff right now. I do know that Larry likes the horse and that means I like his chances as well for next year.”