(2YO Givemeaminit on the track at Del Mar / Photo Courtesy of Breeders’ Cup)
Dallas Stewart knows a good horse when he sees one. Better yet, he knows how to train a good horse when he gets one.
All one has to do is look at what he has already done this year with the likes of Forever Unbridled, who is a perfect 3-for-3 this year with classic wins in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff over Abel Tasman; in the G1 Personal Ensign over the great Champ Songbird; and the G2 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs. She is now, undoubtedly, a Champion to be in her own right.
All one has to do is look at the job he has done with Seeking the Soul, who most recently captured the G1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in November and now is being pointed towards a matchup with the great Gun Runner in the Pegasus World Cup in January. The son of Perfect Soul may be one of the most improved horses over the past couple of months than any horse in America.
And now, one may want to keep an eye on his 2-year-old spring chicken — Givemeaminit. Despite still being a maiden, Stewart has this guy ready to run in today’s Louisiana Futurity Purse at the Fair Grounds.
This son of Star Guitar will be facing winners in today’s featured Stakes, but just consider that he probably is the most accomplished runner in the race. After all, he is the only horse in the field that has earned Graded Stakes status.
After running second on debut — against open company — in a Maiden Special Weight event at Saratoga, Stewart went ahead and slipped this guy in to run in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga on Sept. 4. All he did that day was come running with a flourish at the end and finish third to Sporting Chance and Free Drop Billy — two of the more talented 2YOs in the country at that time.
But that was just the beginning. Next up for Givemeaminit was the G1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, where he ran fifth to Free Drop Billy. And, then there was the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar, where he ran fourth to the likes of Good Magic, Solomoni, and Bolt d’Oro — three of the most highly acclaimed juveniles in the world.
Finally, it was on to the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs — where he was a very troubled 8th out of the 14 to race that day. But he was compromised greatly going into the first turn, and was bumped completely out of his stride.
Now, with all those wars under his belt, Givemeaminit will face Louisiana-breds only for the first time. And, he may be ready to not only win his first Stakes race, but break his maiden — all at the same time.
(Trainer Dallas Stewart, right / Photo Courtesy of HorseRacingNation)
“He’s been training great,” Stewart said. “We gave him a couple of breezes just to sharpen him up a little bit. He’s healthy and we’re looking forward to run. He ran hard all year and I think that this spot fits him real well. It’s shorter in distance and he’s run well short. We’ll just progress on from there.”
But, as you have already seen, Stewart isn’t shy with this colt. Hasn’t been in the past. Doesn’t plan to be in the future. He thinks that this one has the right stuff to end up in Louisville. On the first Saturday in May. In the Kentucky Derby. Louisiana-bred, or not.
“The goal is the (Gr. II $1 million) Louisiana Derby (on Mar. 24) so how do we get there? We’ll figure it out as we go,” said Stewart.
GREELEY WENT WEST, DIVINE BEAN SET FOR REMATCH IN LOUISISANA FUTURITY
Familiar foes Greeley Went West and Divine Bean, the one-two finishers of the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes on Dec. 9, will renew their rivalry on New Year’s Eve in the colts and geldings division of the Louisiana Futurity, which carries a purse of $104,930 and will be run at six furlongs on the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots main track.
Owned by Phyllis Hodges and Randy Schneider, the son of El Corredor will break from post four under James Graham. He won the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile coming off a three-month layoff when he broke his maiden at first asking at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 11 for trainer James Hodges.
“We think he’s real good,” Hodges said. “There are two or three other real nice horses in there so we feel like we have some good racing luck we ought to be real competitive.”
Should Greeley Went West give Hodges a solid effort on New Year’s Eve, he will possibly send the 2-year-old gelding to Delta Downs for the $100,000 Louisiana Premier Night Prince Stakes on Feb. 10.
“If he wins this race, he’ll be in the top bunch of the Louisiana-bred two-year-olds,” Hodges said. “There might be some other ones somewhere else that we don’t know about, but if he beats these horses, we’ll probably go to Delta with him and possibly here in the ($75,000) Crescent City Derby (on Mar. 24). We’ll just have to play it by ear.”
Meanwhile, Brittlyn Stable Inc.’s Divine Bean will be out for revenge after being run down in the stretch of the Louisiana Champions Day Futurity as the lukewarm favorite. Like his rival, the son of Star Guitar also broke his maiden first time out when he won wire-to-wire on Opening Day by 2 ¼ lengths for trainer Al Stall, Jr.
“No excuses,” Stall said. “I thought he ran hard. A nice colt ran him down that day, but hopefully we can turn the tables on that horse and a few others. There are some nice ones in there.”
Jose Valdivia, Jr. will be in the irons replacing regular rider Colby Hernandez who is out with a broken collarbone. He will break from post eight at 9-2 morning line odds.
WONDER GADOT COULD FACE COLTS IN LECOMTE
Gary Barber’s multiple graded stakes winning filly Wonder Gadot could possibly make her next start against colts in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte on Jan. 13.
(Trainer Mark Casse / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
Trained by Mark Casse, the Ontario-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro made her first start a winning one against allowance company over the Polytrack at Woodbine before running switching surfaces in the Gr. I Natalma on the Woodbine turf, where she ran third. Following such an effort, Wonder Gadot successfully returned to the Polytrack at the Etobicoke oval as an emphatic six-length winner of the Gr. III Mazarine before shipping to Del Mar for the Gr. I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies where she finished sixth. Last time out, she won the Gr. II Demoiselle at Aqueduct on Dec. 2.
“Mark and Mr. Barber are starting to entertain the idea of running her against the boys,” Casse’s assistant trainer David Carroll said. “She’s still in Florida but hopefully she’ll get here shortly. The game plan is to cross enter (in $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes on Jan. 13) and take a look and see where she is. I have actually never seen her in the flesh so I’m looking forward to seeing her. She’s obviously a very nice filly in her own right, but apparently she’s doing very well.”
Wonder Gadot breezed on Saturday morning at Casse Training Center in Ocala, Florida where she worked five furlongs in 1:02.40.
In addition, Casse would also be represented by Gr. I Alcibiades winner Heavenly Love in the Silverbulletday Stakes.
Other known possible entrants for the Lecomte include Analyze This Jet, Kowboy Karma, Believe In Royalty, Ebben and Principe Guilherme. Possibilities for the Silverbulletday include Terras Angel and America’s Tale.
ALBARADO SHIPS TO AQUEDUCT ON NEW YEAR’S DAY FOR GR. III JEROME
At the beginning of every New Year, people often set goals for the remaining 364 days ahead of them. For jockey Robby Albarado the goal for 2018 is the same as it is for many other riders: find a mount for the Grade I Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.
Such is the reason why Albarado will be at Aqueduct on New Year’s Day to ride Seven Trumpets in the $150,000 Jerome Stakes, which is a race on Churchill Downs’ Road to the Kentucky Derby and awards the Top 4 finishers qualifying points on a 10-4-2-1 scale.
“I’m just trying to set myself up for the spring time,” Albarado said. “Trying not to let any of them slip through the cracks, cover all the bases with them and hope they can keep my potential options separated. That’s a good problem to have with all of these good two-year-olds that are turning three. We’ll see how it all works out.”
Albarado was aboard the West Point Thoroughbreds-owned son of Morning Line for both of his career victories, a pair of wins over the Churchill Downs main track going 6½ furlongs for trainer Dale Romans.
“He ran some big races,” Albarado said. “I tell you what he ran a big race the first time that I won on him and then he really stepped up the next time I rode him. It seems like he’s really been maturing and it was a really good race for him. Obviously he’s taking the next step going a mile so we’ll see what he does from there. That’s the true test because sometimes the two-year-olds try to get ahead of everybody and then they end up catching up to them, but I think he’s one that’s a really nice horse.”