Post Pegasus World Cup, Steve Asmussen's Got a Couple of Derby Contenders

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D.S. Williamson

February 24th, 2018

Trainer Steve Asmussen hasn't let up since Gun Runner defeated West Coast in the 2018 Pegasus World Cup. Asmussen's been en fuego since then. Steve's runners have raced so well that he's already saddled 33 winners since Gun Runner's Pegasus win on Jan. 28. That's pretty amazing.

It feels like Steve's just getting started. We're not even into February and already he's got 57 firsts, 64 seconds, and 45 third place finishes. He's got some decent three-year-olds that, with more seasoning, could be a force on the Triple Crown Trail. Check out a couple of them.


Combatant - 2nd in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes

If it wasn't for a golden rail, and some great race riding by Kent Desormeaux aboard My Boy Jack, Combatant would have won the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. The Scat Daddy sired horse from a Boundary broodmare, Border Dispute, Combatant easily ran past both Sporting Chance and race favorite Mourhino.

Although he did lug in, Combatant straightened and still ran on. It was his third straight second place finish. He's improved in all 3 races. By the time he runs in the Grade 2 Rebel, which Steve Amussen is pointing him to, Combatant might be one of the better three-year-olds in the nation.

Solimini and McKinzie are both probable for the Southwest. If they both enter, I'll definitely be looking to make a few bucks on Combatant at overlay odds.

Snapper Sinclair - 2nd in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes

Going off at 41 to 1, Snapper Sinclair wasn't expected to do much in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes. In fact, it looked like he was enbtered to set things up for Principe Guilherme. All Snapper Sinclair did was almost steal the race on the front end. It took a huge effort by Bravazo to get past Snapper Sinclair by a nose.

I'm not sure Snapper Sinclair is bred to run 1 1/4 miles. However, he was fantastic in the Risen Star. There's nothing to suggest he won't have a say in the outcome of the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. Snapper Sinclair won't offer 41 to 1. But, he won't go off the favorite. That's for sure.

Although the field for the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby is expected to be small, it figures to be filled with quality. Kiaran McLaughlin trained Avery Island is expected to ship for the race. Noble Indy and Bravazo are both expected to enter.

That's 4 speed horses. Often when 4 speed horses enter into a short field, the race turns into a match race, or the other 3 speed horses decide to let the speed of the speed go. In this case, the speed of the speed will be Snapper Sinclair. He might be another Steve Asmussen trained  3-year-old that I must back at overlay odds.