Mucciolo’s Sophomore Spotlight: Illinois Derby, Federico Tesio Recaps

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April 25th, 2017

Illinois Derby (G3):

MULTIPLIER made the huge leap from the maiden ranks to graded winner with a determined late rally to take the Hawthorne feature by a head beneath James Graham. The Brendan Walsh trainee showed a lot of class and talent to me, running down a horse I have a fondness for, and the top pair was really moving based upon closing splits in the 1 1/8-mile tilt.

The winner has shown improvement in every lifetime outing and Multiplier is probably headed to the middle leg of the Triple Crown, the May 20 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. The son of The Factor is simply a very nice sophomore who likely hasn’t shown us his best yet.

I was a bit disappointed that HEDGE FUND didn’t pull away and cruise home as expected in the lane, though the Todd Pletcher trainee proved that he is a continually improving colt with just a quartet of races under his belt. Chestnut colt finished more than four lengths clear of his nearest foe under the wire and while he is not a Triple Crown type just yet (and not nominated), the Kentucky-bred is an exciting youngster who could make his presence felt in important races later this year.

Stakes hero IT’S YOU NICKEL rebounded from a subpar Blue Grass (G2) effort to finish a clear third for Ken McPeek. Capable colt has proven versatile in handling both the synthetic and the dirt against some strong opposition and I won’t be surprised to see the Dialed In colt continue to evolve. Sophomore may have a lower ceiling than the top two but he owns a good turn of foot and belongs in stakes races of this nature going forward.

Federico Tesio S.:

TWISTED TOM bagged his second stakes race of the Laurel meet, inching clear late in the slop at Laurel. Son of Creative Cause continues to show steady improvement with three straight wins now, though he would have to get a lot faster in a hurry to be mentioned anywhere near the better sophomores in this crop. He earned an automatic berth to the Preakness but since he’s not Triple Crown nominated, conditioner Chad Brown indicated they’ll look elsewhere. I give the New York-bred props for his ability and Twisted Tom can continue to pick up of paychecks if properly placed.