Kentucky Derby Maiden Watch: Brewmeister, Ekklesia post breakthrough victories

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 5th, 2020

A weekly series analyzing recent maiden winners poised to join the Road to the Kentucky Derby:


A son of turf star Point of Entry out the Giant’s Causeway mare Wonder Brew (a daughter of Canadian champion and Woodbine Oaks winner Ginger Brew), Brewmeister knocked heads with some decent horses as a juvenile, including Road to the Kentucky Derby veterans Silver Prospector and Ajaaweed. But although he’s bred to excel on turf and synthetic tracks, Brewmeister is proving most effective on dirt, as he demonstrated with a decisive maiden victory on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Facing half a dozen rivals in a 6 1/2-furlong dash, the chestnut gelding was reserved in midpack through quick fractions of :21.99 and :44.61, then came rolling down the homestretch to roar past the leaders and dominate by 4 1/4 lengths. Trained by Lisa Lewis for owner Peter Brant, Brewmeister sold for $300,000 as a yearling and has the breeding to stretch out over longer distances. Considering Saturday’s triumph marked just the second run of the season for Brewmeister, it’s safe to say this improving sophomore still has plenty of upside.


After losing his first four starts on both dirt and turf, Ekklesia showed improvement when returning from a 4-month layoff in a one-mile maiden race on Saturday at Los Alamitos. Disregarded by bettors at odds of 12-1, the son of Raison d’Etat tracked splits of :22.75, :47.16, and 1:11.87, advanced to take command down the long homestretch, and tenaciously held off a challenge from stretch-running Still in the Game to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:37.09.

Trained by Peter Eurton for the partnership of Ciaglia Racing, Sharon Alesia, Dan Hudock, and Paul Van Doren, Ekklesia was produced by the graded stakes-experienced Dynaformer mare Neith, so he’s bred to improve with distance and maturity. Sold for $180,000 as a 2-year-old, Ekklesia is heading in the right direction and could take a shot at stakes company in the future.