Congratulations to Nick Zito and Kent Desormeaux with their G2 Fountain of Youth winner Cool Coal Man. Drawing the rail certainly helped this son of Mineshaft as did the modest early pace; add to that he came in off an allowance victory at this distance on this track (and that race went in a faster time than this! [Correction: the timer malfunctioned in the FOY so it was retimed 2 seconds faster than originally thought]). So, Derby potential? To his credit, he has already posted a win at Churchill, though he didn’t perform as well in the subsequent G2 KYJC. Judging by his trainer’s on-air comments following stablemate War Pass’s victory in the 10th race, he doesn’t appear to have much respect from his own trainer so I not that thrilled either.
However, it does bodes well that one of my Derby favorites Elysium Fields came back on Cool Coal Man in the final steps, as the head-on view shows Eibar Coa had to take that one to the outside for the rally when Cool Coal Man starting drifting towards the rail. For a colt whose last race was a maiden victory, the FOY was one helluva race for this Barclay Tagg-trainee! He certainly stays on my watch list.
For a horse first out since last November, another one of my mid-January selections Court Vision impressed as well, coming from well out of it to finish third with new rider Garrett Gomez. He too already has a victory over the Churchill dirt, taking the G3 Iroquois last October, so he is still high on my list. Those two were on my 10-cent superfecta ticket, along with Kentucky Bear who I should have dumped after he lost regular rider Elvis Trujillo to an fractured wrist yesterday (Joe Bravo got the nod today), and Anak Nakal, also coming in off a long layoff for Nick Zito, who showed nothing in finishing eighth. And what a long, long Derby season it will be for the Toddster whose favorite Monba finished dead-last… Yeah, he's nominated a record 24 horses for the G2 Lane's End. Can you say "taking a shot in the dark", or "I-don't-have-one-good-Derby-horse-this-year"?
Considering the romp that was War Pass’s first three-year-old outing today (and, yes, I put $2 win bets on all four other horses in the field…just in case), you’d think he was the second-coming of Secretariat. Still, I think there is a serious distance issue for him to yet overcome, so I’m not on that bandwagon.
As far as my other mid-January picks are concerned, Tale of Ekati has yet to reappear and Turf War disappointed in the Southwest, although I do think that race was too short for him. Promising Denis of Cork won the Southwest, while Unbridled Vicar finished fourth in G3 Risen Star to Pyro, and Visionaire (who I pegged in his first allowance win back in January) took third.