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Homeracing

Kentucky Derby Maiden Watch: Triple Crown nominees Fenwick, Kuchar post victories

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

March 14th, 2022

Eight weeks out from the Kentucky Derby (G1), potential Run for the Roses candidates are still busy breaking their maidens at racetracks across the country.

Let’s highlight a pair of promising maiden winners from the weekend of March 12-13.

Fenwick

You might be thinking, mid-March is a very late date for a potential Kentucky Derby contender to be breaking his maiden. That might be true for a debuting runner, but Fenwick—who graduated in a one-mile and 40-yard maiden special weight on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs—is actually an experienced colt with five starts under his belt.

Fenwick debuted with a runner-up effort at Belmont Park last October, and while the son of Curlin finished off the board in three subsequent starts at Aqueduct and Fair Grounds, he took a sharp step forward at Tampa Bay Downs. After dashing to the lead through splits of :23.32, :48.06, and 1:13.28, the Villa Rosa Farm colorbearer was full of run down the homestretch, powering away to beat 2021 Champagne S. (G1) runner-up Commandperformance by 5 1/4 lengths.

Fenwick reached the finish line 1:40.55 to complete a significant upset; Commandperformance was favored at 1-20, while Fenwick started at 21-1. Fenwick is nominated to the Triple Crown, and it might not be too late for the David Fisher trainee to join the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Kuchar

The third time was the charm for Kuchar. Third in his Aug. 8 debut at Ellis Park and seventh when returning from a long layoff at Oaklawn Park last month, Kuchar stepped forward nicely to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on Sunday at Oaklawn.

The Rodolphe Brisset trainee wasn’t in any great hurry to get going, settling in midpack as Chileno carved out fractions of :23.61, :48.32, and 1:13.18. But Kuchar began to advance around the far turn, and despite drifting around down the homestretch, Kuchar rallied just in time to beat Chileno by a nose in 1:44.48.

A son of Uncle Mo, who has already sired 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, Kuchar is a Triple Crown nominee owned in partnership by WinStar Farm and Siena Farm. We’ll have to wait and see if Kuchar turns up in the April 2 Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn.

RELATED: 5 tips for betting maiden races

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