Calculator enhances status with dazzling Sham
The Florida-bred gray colt erased any doubts surrounding his status as a serious Kentucky Derby prospect.
Trained by Peter Miller, Calculator missed the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile due to a hoof injury and returned from a 105-day layoff in the one-mile Sham. The son of In Summation traveled wide most of the way from post 7, settling in midpack before launching his move on the far turn.
To say he cornered well would be an understatement. Calculator ate up the competition with a dazzling turn of foot through the far turn, reaching the leaders before straightening for home.
The 3-5 favorite rolled to the wire, scoring by a widening 4 1/4-length margin.
Calculator dropped his first two starts versus maiden special weight rivals at Del Mar before a pair of runner-up efforts in Grade 1 stakes to American Pharoah, finishing 4 ¾ lengths back in the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity before a 3 ¼-length defeat in the 1 1/16-mile FrontRunner, which is proving to be the ultimate key race.
Texas Red wound up a non-threatening third in the FrontRunner, 1 ½ lengths back of Calculator, before recording a 6 ½-length runaway tally in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Calculator followed suit with another scintillating performance on Saturday, further enhancing American Pharoah’s two-year-old form.
Calculator moved to third on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, increasing his total to 14 with the 10-point Sham prize, and it will be no surprise to see him continue to make a serious impact in upcoming prep races.
Saturday also featured wins from Lea and Hoppertunity, two leading performers in an ultra-deep handicap division.
Lea was super impressive at Gulfstream Park, maneuvering from behind a wall of horses to the far outside before unleashing a dramatic late kick to win going away in the one-mile Hal’s Hope. Unraced since a superb tally in last February’s Donn H., the six-year-old could be any kind if he stays healthy for Bill Mott.
Hoppertunity followed his first Grade 1 victory, the November 28 Clark H. at Churchill Downs, with another fine performance in the 1 1/16-mile San Pasqual at Santa Anita. Trainer Bob Baffert is loaded with Bayern at his disposal as well in the older division.
Photo credit – Benoit Photo