Kentucky Derby Maiden Watch: Masqueparade, Perfect Cut fight for their diplomas
Six weeks out from the Kentucky Derby, a pair of Triple Crown nominees battled to maiden victories on a busy Saturday afternoon.
While time is running out to qualify to the Derby, forays in the Preakness (G1) and/or Belmont (G1) could be on tap if these promising youngsters make rapid progress over the next two months. Let’s take a quick look at their names and credentials:
It’s safe to say Masqueparade had to fight for his maiden victory—in fact, when the dust settled, he even needed a little help from the stewards.
After finishing no better than third in his first three starts, Masqueparade was overlooked at 5-1 in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on Saturday at Fair Grounds. But the Al Stall trainee outran expectations, vying for the lead through splits of :24.20, :47.39, and 1:11.61 before turning for home in command of the lead.
But Masqueparade was quickly confronted by the rallying Alejandro (a Curlin colt out of Rachel's Valentina, the Grade 1-winning daughter of Bernardini and Rachel Alexandra). Alejandro appeared to have the edge for much of the homestretch, but late in the race he drifted in and bumped Masqueparade, who was still fighting gamely toward the inside. Alejandro ultimately crossed the wire in front by a half-length, but he was subsequently disqualified to second place, sending Masqueparade to the winner’s circle.
A son of Upstart out of the Any Given Saturday mare Cry War Eagle, Masqueparade has the potential to develop into a fine prospect. The winning time of 1:42.73 compared favorably with the 1:42.75 clocking required by Travel Column to win the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) later in the afternoon, suggesting Masqueparade might well be a stakes-caliber colt.
The third time was the charm for Perfect Cut. After suffering defeats in his first two starts, including a sixth-place effort behind Florida Derby (G1) contender Collaborate, the dark bay colt showed newfound grit and determination to win a one-mile maiden special weight on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
After saving ground in fourth place behind fractions of :23.21, :45.89, and 1:10.57, Perfect Cut waited in traffic, shifted out for the drive, and rallied tenaciously to win by a nose in 1:37.13. A modest final furlong in :13.57 aided Perfect Cut’s late rally, and he didn’t beat the toughest field. But the Kenny McPeek trainee is nevertheless making encouraging progress, and his pedigree (by Gemologist out of a Malibu Moon mare) offers promise for stretching out around two turns. We’ll be curious to see where Perfect Cut turns up next.