Kentucky Derby Maiden Watch: Dynamic One, Untreated post romping wins for Pletcher
The first week of March saw a bevy of Triple Crown nominees record impressive maiden victories at tracks across the country. While time is running short for qualifying to the Kentucky Derby (G1), there’s still time for these up-and-coming youngsters to take aim at the final round of prep races if their connections so desire.
Let’s highlight the most notable winners from last week:
The third time was the charm for this Godolphin homebred. After finishing second and fourth in his first two starts sprinting six furlongs at Fair Grounds, Colonel Bowman parlayed pace-tracking tactics into a comfortable 1 1/2-length victory over the same track and distance. Benefiting from removing blinkers, the Brad Cox trainee hit the wire in 1:10.07. Longer distances should be well within reach for the stoutly bred son of Curlin, who was produced by the Grade 1-winning Awesome Again mare Dubai Escapade.
Returning from a 6 1/2-month layoff was no obstacle for Defunded in a six-furlong dash at Santa Anita. Making his first start as a gelding, the Bob Baffert trainee settled in midpack through splits of :21.75 and :44.94, then came rolling down the stretch to beat a promising field by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:09.88. As a son of Dialed In out of a Touch Gold mare, Defunded is bred for success over one mile or farther, so look for Baffert to stretch him out down the road.
Runner-up behind Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Greatest Honour in the latter’s maiden win, Dynamic One finally secured a victory of his own while stretching out over 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct, After tracking fractions of :25.28, :51.44, and 1:17.29 over a slow track, the son of Belmont (G1) winner Union Rags took command in the stretch and forged clear to score by 5 1/4 lengths in 1:55.21, giving trainer Todd Pletcher another contender for the spring classics.
After failing to show much in his sprint debut at Santa Anita, Law Professor took a big step forward while stretching out over one mile. Racing for the first time with blinkers, the son of Constitution patiently rated in midpack through quick fractions of :23.20, :46.20, and 1:10.50, then rallied gamely down the homestretch to post a 2 1/2-length triumph. Trained by Michael McCarthy, Law Professor hit the wire in 1:37.51 and still has more upside with just two runs under his belt.
Although not a Triple Crown nominee, Noble Reflection was arguably the flashiest winner of the week. Favored at 9-10 in a six-furlong sprint at Oaklawn Park, Noble Reflection showed no signs of rust in his first start off a seven-month layoff. Dashing to the front through fast splits of :21.83 and :45.14, Noble Reflection drew off readily when called upon, running the final quarter-mile in a quick :24.26 to win by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:09.40.
Trained by Richard Baltas, Noble Reflection ran once at Del Mar last summer, finishing third behind future graded stakes winners Dr. Schivel and Spielberg. As a son of Liam’s Map out of a Tiznow mare, Noble Reflection has the pedigree to stretch out in distance, so don’t be surprised if he winds up as a late nominee to the Triple Crown.
Although Untreated never fired in his debut sprinting at Gulfstream Park, finishing sixth behind future Sam F. Davis (G3) winner Candy Man Rocket, the son of 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist took a big step forward when stretching out over one mile and 40 yards at Tampa Bay Downs.
Reserved toward the rear of the field through splits of :23.95 and :47.36, Untreated unleashed a huge rally around the far turn to seize command, then drew off under a hand ride to dominate by 8 3/4 lengths. Untreated reached the wire in a quick 1:39.17 (just 0.49 off the track record) and is clearly progressing in the right direction for Pletcher.
A Jan. 16 maiden sprint at Fair Grounds won by Blameworthy has proven to be a highly productive race, with Ottothelegend the latest winner to emerge from the field. Stretching out over 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn, Ottothelegend rated in sixth place for the first half of the journey, then advanced through traffic and finished gamely down the stretch to record a two-length victory in 1:45.24.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has this Three Chimneys Farm homebred - an Uncle Mo half-brother to Twirling Candy - on the rise at just the right time.