Mucciolo’s Sophomore Spotlight Recap: San Felipe & Tampa Bay Derby

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March 14th, 2017

San Felipe S. (G2):

MASTERY was masterful in leading at every call while dispatching his main rivals in the lane with a strong closing kick but the bad news came shortly afterward that the Bob Baffert trainee had suffered a condylar fracture, not only thwarting his Kentucky Derby bid but potentially his career, as well. The unbeaten colt proved to be the leading West Coast contender recording the facile win but sadly will not get a chance to go forward on the Triple Crown Trail. Here’s hoping that the multi-talented colt fully recovers.

ILIAD was a clear second in the 1 1/16-mile race and since I have a high opinion of the winner, I have to give the Doug O’Neill trainee another chance this spring. Lightly raced son of the red-hot Ghostzapper did tire noticeably, switching back to his left lead in early stretch, but he has ability for sure and the ridgling will tell us more in his second two-turn try. I still have faith that the bay could run longer under the right circumstances and Iliad will try to move forward in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).

GORMLEY has always been a hard read for me and this race was simply not encouraging. The son of Malibu Moon was between a talented pair early while going swiftly but offered no resistance upon reaching the lane, retreating early. He probably wants no part of longer distances and while I can’t endorse his chances for a turnaround this spring, the Grade 1-winning colt is in good hands and remains a promising sort at shorter trips. When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, I like less-ballyhooed stablemate Royal Mo a lot more.

Tampa Bay Derby (G2):

TAPWRIT made a visually impressive middle move to readily take command in early stretch and cruised home a facile winner at Tampa Bay. The Todd Pletcher trainee has been a different animal since adding blinkers following an unplaced debut performance last summer and his push-button acceleration makes me think he will be a major player on the Derby Trail for a conditioner who knows how to get a runner to the race. $1.2 million gray colt looked like he could have run around the oval again after crossing the wire basically in hand and is the only runner out of this field that I can give serious attention to as a Kentucky Derby type.