3-Year-Old Update

by Ed Meyer

posted on January 5, 2009 in General Discussion, News, Other Events | 1 Comment >>

It’s early, and the races for newly turned 3-year-olds are mostly still far short of a mile and a quarter but — what the heck – spring is just around the corner and it’s time to think Kentucky Derby.

With Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ Midshipman prepping in Dubai , the field is typically wide open at this point at the tracks that traditionally serve as the major Triple Crown proving grounds.

Santa Anita, Fair Grounds, Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park are already in operation and Oaklawn Park in Arkansas kicks off in less than two weeks. By the time spring training baseball games get going, we’ll be thinking about selections for the Florida , Louisiana and Santa Anita derbies and the Wood Memorial.

Gulfstream’s prep series kicked off on Opening Day on Saturday, as Notonthesamepage led most of the way to an 8 1/4-length upset victory. You Luckie Mann was second, Bee Cee Cee third and the favorite, Silent Valor, finished fourth.

Notonthesamepage, a Kentucky-bred colt by Catienus, hadn’t run since finishing last of 11 in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keenland three months ago.

“He had issues with his throat and bleeding last summer, which explains his last couple of races, but it looks like that’s past him now,” said winning trainer Wesley Ward. “The way he ran today it looks like he could have gone on longer.” He said he hopes to give Notonthesamepage at least a month before his next race, but does hope to stretch him out to longer distances.

At Aqueduct in New York, Haynesfield took command in the stretch in Saturday’s $65,000 Count Fleet Stakes and justified his odds-on favorite status with a 3 1/2-length win. Jess Not Jesse was second and Mike From Queens finished third. Haynesfield, a New York-bred colt by Speightstown, ran 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:44.65. Ramon Dominguez rode the Steve Asmussen-trained colt.

At Turfway Park in Kentucky, Loch Dubh came from slightly off the pace to upset the $50,000 Turfway Prevue Stakes, the first step toward the March 21 Lane’s End Stakes. Rallying down the lane, the $15,000 Churchill Downs claim won by 2 lengths over Back to Gold. The odds-on favorite, Rudy Flyer, led early but faded to finish third. Loch Dubh, a Kentucky-bred son of Friends Lake , ran the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.72 with Victor Lebron up.

Loch Dubh is unlikely to move along on the Lane’s End trail. “I think he wants to go short,” said winning trainer Jeff Talley. “They had been running him long, and the day we took him they ran him short and he won by seven. I think that’s the key to him.”