(Mask wins Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park / Photo courtesy of Gulfstream Park)
There were high expectations for the newly turned 3-year-old colt Dak Attack going into the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. After all, the strikingly handsome son of Ghostzapper was a perfect 2-for-2 in his abbreviated 2-year-old season and the easy way he had won both of his previous starts was a stamp of approval for bigger and brighter things to come.
Bigger came Saturday — with the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park, which was jammed full of talented runners like Mask and Bal Harbor. It was Dak Attack’s first serious step on the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
As things turned out, though, brighter will have to wait just a bit.
(Photo of Dak Attack)
On Saturday, Dak Attack — who was making his first start since winning the Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes at little Ellis Park in Henderson, KY. back in the summer of 2017 — made a nice, steady run into the turn and started to draw closer to the front-running Mask.
Just as soon as he got into contention, Dak Attack wasn’t able to sustain it. He tired, flattened out a bit, and Mask ran on to an easy victory, as Bal Harbor got up late for a non-threatening second. To his credit, Dak Attack — on heart, guts, and talent — held on for third.
(Dale Romans, trainer of Dak Attack)
On Sunday, we checked in with trainer Dale Romans, who has a stable full of Derby contenders, to see how Dak Attack was doing.
In an exchange of test messages, Romans reassured us that the colt exited the race in good order. And, that all systems were go for talented colt — who was making his first start since sustaining a mild injury to a shin that sidelined him for the last five months of 2017.
All things considered, it was a solid performance on the road back from injury and the layoff. And, it was solid step forward on the road to better things to come, and, perhaps, hopefully, the Kentucky Derby.
(Bret Jones, of Airdrie Stud — part owner of Dak Attack)
We also were able to touch base with Bret Jones, who, along with his father, former Governor Brereton C. Jones, bred the colt and are still part owners. Bret allowed the following:
“…according to Dale, he came out great and needed the race. Better days ahead.”
Brighter days ahead. I, for one, still believe.
The next step along the road hasn’t been decided yet. We will touch base with Romans and the rest of the team in a few to see if those plans are starting to take shape.