Is Madefromlucky this year's equivalent of Commissioner?
Over the course of the 2015 Triple Crown trail, I've occasionally wondered if Madefromlucky could be this year's version of Commissioner -- another Todd Pletcher trainee with a steady, grinding running style who nearly upset the 2014 Belmont S. (G1). After Madefromlucky's victory in Saturday's Peter Pan (G2), that parallel is taking firmer shape.
Admittedly, Commissioner did not win last year's Peter Pan, but rather finished a clear second to eventual Belmont hero Tonalist. There weren't any Tonalists in Saturday's Peter Pan, however, so I would contend that Madefromlucky's performance was probably on a similar level to Commissioner's. We'll know more once the BRIS Speed figures are posted. In any event, like Commissioner, Madefromlucky turned in a much improved effort here.
Each finished a closing second in a one-mile maiden at Monmouth in the summer of his two-year-old campaign, and went on to break his maiden going a route next time out. Each made it two in a row when capturing a 1 1/8-mile allowance at Gulfstream Park, earning a crack at Derby preps -- in which they were comprehensively beaten. Commissioner didn't put his best foot forward (for various reasons) when sixth in the Fountain of Youth (G2), third in the Sunland Derby (G3) and sixth in the Arkansas Derby (G1), but turned the proverbial corner with his runner-up effort in the Peter Pan.
Unlike Commissioner, Madefromlucky adhered only to the Oaklawn road to the Derby, and obviously was no match for champion and eventual Derby star American Pharoah in Hot Springs. Nevertheless, Madefromlucky was a respectable best of the rest in the March 14 Rebel (G2). He failed to build on that promising stakes debut next time in the April 11 Arkansas Derby, trudging home a one-paced fourth.
Although Madefromlucky had enough points to take his spot in the Kentucky Derby field, he was easily outworked by stablemate Stanford at Churchill Downs. Connections decided to skip the first jewel of the Triple Crown, with Pletcher specifically mentioning the Peter Pan.
"I am thinking that Belmont Park with its sweeping turns might be a good fit for him," Pletcher said April 24, and so it proved.
Madefromlucky was under a ride from off the pace, but found plenty down the stretch and forged clear. He will face a much stiffer class test in the June 6 Belmont, but he's the type who just keeps chugging.
Photo of Madefromlucky courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography.