Kentucky Derby Maiden Watch: Electability, Win the Day break through running long

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

March 7th, 2022

A quartet of stateside Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifiers dominated the racing headlines last weekend. But a pair of maiden routes at Aqueduct and Santa Anita could also have an impact on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail.

Let’s introduce two new names to watch during the spring.


Electability didn’t show much in his debut racing 1 1/16 miles on turf at Saratoga last summer, racing off the pace on his way to a seventh-place finish. But the Chad Brown trainee looked like a different horse when returning from a layoff and switching to dirt for a one-mile maiden special weight on Saturday at Aqueduct.

With Eric Cancel aboard, Electability showed improved tactical speed, pressing fractions of :24.13, :48.47, and 1:13.47 from second place. He had to work hard down the lane to reel in the pacesetter, but ultimately edged clear to win by half a length in 1:39.59, with the third-place runner another nine lengths back.

As a son of Quality Road out of a Hard Spun mare, Electability boasts a classy pedigree geared toward success running long. The bay gelding is nominated to the Triple Crown, so a race like the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct isn’t necessarily out of the question.

Win the Day

Although Win the Day was defeated in his first two starts at Santa Anita, those efforts came on turf. The son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Midshipman clearly relished switching to the Santa Anita main track for a one-mile maiden special weight on Sunday.

With Umberto Rispoli in the saddle for trainer Doug O’Neill, Win the Day was slow to get going, dropping back after bumpy start to race in last place out of five runners. Following an opening quarter-mile in :22.47, Win the Day was 11 lengths off the lead and five lengths behind the next-to-last horse.

But Win the Day made steady progress through a half-mile in :46.14 and six furlongs in 1:11.48, and down the homestretch he drew off strongly to dominate by 5 1/2 lengths. Dashing his final furlong in :12.97 seconds allowed Win the Day to complete the heat in 1:38.18.

Owned by the partnership of Boat Racing, Fritz Brothers Racing, and William Strauss, Win the Day isn’t currently nominated to the Triple Crown. But with his newfound affinity for dirt, a last-minute foray on the Road to the Kentucky Derby can’t be dismissed as a possibility.