Mr Maybe unequivocally bursts onto turf scene in Red Smith, eyes bigger prizes in 2016

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

November 14th, 2015

Photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography.

The rich get richer, as the saying goes, and so it proved once again in Saturday’s $250,000 Red Smith H. (G3) at Aqueduct. As if trainer Chad Brown didn’t have enough turf riches in his barn, the Bobby Frankel protégé has recruited another money-spinner in Mr Maybe, who blew away a field of veterans in his stakes debut. Now the winner of three straight by a combined margin of 12 1/2 lengths, the four-year-old gelding looms a very promising face in a division in need of new blood.

Mr Maybe, a $3,000 Keeneland November weanling, went to Charles Zacney (of Afleet Alex fame) for $85,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling. The son of Ghostzapper has gone through three trainers already. After flopping in his unveiling on dirt for Tony Dutrow at two, he resurfaced with Tim Ritchey and captured his three-year-old debut in a $50,000 maiden claimer on the Delaware turf. He found life a bit harder versus winners. Mr Maybe switched to the Butch Reid barn last fall, dabbled in a couple of starter allowances at Saratoga this summer, and finally cleared his entry-level allowance condition in resounding fashion at Parx August 31.

Subsequently snapped up by Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners and Highclere America, Mr Maybe was transferred to Brown. He made an immediate impression with a four-length conquest over 1 3/8 miles at Belmont October 15. Despite facing a salty Red Smith field including Mr Speaker, Kaigun, Holiday Star and War Dancer, Mr Maybe was bet down from a 5-1 morning line to 2-1 favoritism. The betting public’s faith in the class climber was justified.

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. rode him patiently and anchored him last of the octet through the opening six furlongs. Up front, War Dancer posted slow fractions of :26.07, :51.31 and 1:16.94 on the firm turf. Mr Speaker, who has sometimes been undone by a leisurely pace, decided to prompt the issue here and raced in tandem with War Dancer early. The two tried to spurt away from the field after the mile mark in 1:41.34, but they could not maintain their margin down the stretch.

Mr Maybe lurched into high gear on the outside, and with a few raking strides, overpowered the game War Dancer and the rapidly weakening Mr Speaker. Drawing off in short order, he crossed the wire 4 1/4 lengths clear and clocked 2:17.49 for the 1 3/8 miles. His final eighth was a blistering :11.67. Even allowing for his light impost of 115 pounds, seven fewer than highweight Mr Speaker, that was some turn of foot.

Kaigun closed up the fence for second, a half-length to the good of the wide-rallying Holiday Star. War Dancer held fourth, trailed by the disappointing Mr Speaker (who may have been taken out of his game by pressing early), Charming Kitten, St. Albans Boy, and Iron Power (who got off to a troubled start).

Mr Maybe nearly doubled his earnings to $306,750 from a 13-4-1-3 record. Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Liberation Farm et al in Kentucky, he was produced by the stakes-winning With Approval mare Regal Approval.

Quotes courtesy of NYRA

Trainer Chad Brown on Mr Maybe:

We knew he was sitting on a really good race but how easily he won surprised me. He's a horse that has a lot of talent. We thought there was some room for improvement and he's taken to our program nicely. My staff has really enjoyed working with this horse -- he's a big teddy bear -- and he's only getting better.

We'll go down to Florida and freshen him up a little bit. After this performance today, we have big plans for him next year. I think a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half is his game, and I think this horse can get to the Grade 1 level.

Brown on the deal that landed Mr Maybe in his barn:

Brad Weisbord deserves a lot of credit here because he was adamant about buying this horse. It wasn't an easy deal to complete. It fell apart at one point and he went back and got the horse purchased for us. On this one, he had the most confidence on our team of anyone. Thanks to his efforts he's in our barn.

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.:

They told me he's the kind of horse you don't push too much and just to save ground. So I broke out of there and tried to save ground the whole way. By the half-mile, I knew they were going a little slow so I had to move. I went a little wide but I had horse and when I asked him, he just took off.