Last Updated May 26 at 4:19 p.m. ET
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WILD ABOUT DEB
Owner: Treadway Racing Stable; Breeder: Monticule; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-3-8-0-0 (16) 3.00; By Any Given Saturday (Distorted Humor, Weekend in Indy) out of Sharp Minister (CAN) (Deputy Minister (CAN), Sharp Call (CAN)); Foal Date: March 10, 2013; $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October 2014; Trainer: Leah Gyarmati
NEXT START: TBD
Going six furlongs at Aqueduct on Dec. 19, he won at first asking after stalking the pace in second. Connections sent him right into the Withers, and he finished third, 1 3/4 length behind Sunny Ridge, after running a little greenly.
In the March 5 Gotham Stakes, favored Shagaf rated in fourth while on the inside up the backstretch behind fractions of 23.33 and 47.16, kept running toward pacesetter Laoban in the stretch and got up in the final strides to prevail over him by 1 1/4 length in 1:45.90. Adventist nipped Sunny Ridge for third after the latter one challenged Laoban and was repelled. He was again a little green. The track was favoring early speed on this day.
Leah Gyarmati - "He ran great. He's definitely learning. Each race has been a new challenge for him, and he's stepped forward. He still has a lot to learn. I think distance is going to help him, and each experience is going to make him a better horse. He makes his run, but he's still young and figuring it out. He's going in the right direction. We'll probably look at the Wood."
April 2 NOTE: Trainer Gyarmati said, "He is doing fantastic. He's been on a regular breeze schedule, his breezes have been great: strong gallops to the pole and really good gallop-outs. So it's probably been more work than it looks like on paper. The three-quarters the other day was really the gallop out. He went five-eighths and galloped out three-quarters and ended up galloping out the full mile. I couldn't ask for anything better, he's doing really well.
On his greenness in the Withers and the Gotham: "And I don't think he was always as green as it looked; there was a lot of bumping going on and it wasn't just him. I thought he was pretty professional when he got walloped a few times and he just kept on digging in and outfinished the horses he was bumping with. He's got some fight in him. Obviously, when you have a horse with talent and they're really giving you a big effort, you wonder if you're one bump or one duck in from being second or winning that race because you lose momentum when that happens. But that's tempered with being very excited about having a nice horse. I try not to cry too much."
On April 9, Adventist came on late to finish third in the Wood Memorial on a muddy track. Outwork was tenacious winning the Wood Memorial on a muddy track at Aqueduct. The time was a less than torrid 1:52.92, and perhaps that can be chalked up to the condition of the track. After contesting fractions of 22.91, 46.93 and 1:12.31 with Matt King Coal, Outwork stayed on while the other one regressed. Ridden by John Velazquez, Outwork outfought the rail-hugging Trojan Nation, sent off at 81-1 odds after going winless in five starts at Santa Anita, to the wire to win by a head. Owner Mike Repole said after the race he thinks Outwork would have lost had there been another jump in the race. Adventist came on in the stretch to finish third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths,edging Matt King Coal by a neck. Shagaf, the 9-5 post-time favorite, disappointed to finish fifth, another 1 1/2 length back.
Leah Gyarmati, trainer Adventist - "He ran fantastic He went a little wide on the second turn, but that I guess that's the way things worked out on the second turn if you wanted a free run. He beat some nice horses; he beat the horses that were picked to win. He shows up every time. He's a legitimate horse. With the third-place we earn enough points ... we'll talk with Mr. Treadway and decide form there."
Kendrick Carmouche, aboard Adventist - "He just keeps getting better every start. He's a young horse. I was proud of the way he ran today."
THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Gyarmati said, "I thought he ran a huge race as he always does. Starting out, Kendrick had to ask him going into the first turn and then had to ask him again towards the finish after having to move out from the rail four-wide and into the seventh path towards the finish. We'll let everybody else's plans dictate the decision we make on the Derby. I haven't talked to Jeff yet, but if it happens that would be great. He came out of the race great, ate up all his feed and we know he can get the 1 1/4 mile distance with the trips he's encountered so we'll see."
April 22 NOTE: Trainer Gyarmati said of a workout the day before, "It was really a maintenance work. I was happy with the way he did it, and I thought his gallop-out was good, too." Gyarmati said there was a possibility the colt could be shipped to Churchill Downs or he could remain in New York for the Peter Pan on May 14 or await the Preakness on May 21. "It will be up to Jeff," she said. "There are a lot of options, and right now, they're all open."
May 8 NOTE: Trainer Gyarmati said, "He's doing really well. I think this track (Belmont Park) will help. He has a lot of room; nice wide turns and try to keep him clear. He's had some chances to be in the clear but things happen, and horses come out and bump him. But that's racing. You need to be able to handle that. I'd like (the Belmont Stakes) to be the long-term goal. We'll see how he runs in the Peter Pan."
Adventist finished fourth in the Peter Pan Stakes on May 14. After trying to challenge winner Unified in upper stretch, he was overtaken by Governor Malibu and Wild About Deb and was beaten four lengths and a time of 1:47.14.
DAZZLING GEM (KY)
Owner: Steve Landers; Breeder: Lisa Reynolds & Jennifer Feiner; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 2-2-2-0-0 (6) 5.00; By Misremembered (Candy Ride (ARG), Beyond Perfection) out of Dazzler (Vindication, Bright Image); Foal Date: March 15, 2013; $95,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Brad Cox
NEXT START: Sir Barton Stakes
Dazzling Gem debuted Jan. 18 winning at a mile at Oaklawn Park. About a half-hour earlier, Gray Sky ran fifth, beaten 3 3/4 length in the Smarty Jones Stakes. Those two were to meet soon.
On Feb. 13, despite racing greenly in the stretch, Dazzling Gem wore down Gray Sky on the outside in the final furlong to win a 1 1/16-mile entry-level allowance race at Oaklawn Park by two lengths under Shaun Bridgmohan. Dazzling Gem was timed in 1:45.91.
Brad Cox - “Good day. The horse ran good. We expected a lot out of him.”
THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Cox said the Rebel is a good fit for Dazzling Gem because he won’t have to travel, the distance and timing of the race and a record purse. “Obviously, he likes this track,” Cox said. “He raced green yesterday, but the fractions were solid, a little more solid than the Essex. Came home just a shade slower, but you’re comparing older horses and younger horses.”
March 9 NOTE: Dazzling Gem will miss the Rebel because of a minor foot problem, trainer Cox said. Cox said Dazzling Gem will now point for the $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 26. Cox said Dazzling Gem developed a foot abscess five days ago, forcing the colt to miss a scheduled work the next day. The trainer said the foot is better today. “It's just a minor thing," Cox said. "As well as he's trained, he deserves a shot.”
March 20 NOTE: With Dazzling Gem's foot better, trainer Cox said, “There aren’t a lot of options for 3-year-olds who’ve already won two races. I think he’s a talented horse and I’m not running him in the Louisiana Derby just to run him. We’ll work him Monday and check on him Tuesday, and if all is well we will ship down Tuesday to Fair Grounds. I really like him and I think he can run with the big boys. He’s a true mile and an eighth to a mile and a quarter horse, and these are hurdles he can jump. I’m not ruling out running him in both the Louisiana and Arkansas Derby with how the races are this year.”
Dazzling Gem ran third, but it was Gun Runner who won the Louisiana Derby by 4 1/2 lengths while timed in a tepid 1:51.06. He sat off Candy My Boy in third, then second, following honest fractions of 23.54, 48.24 and 1:12.94. Tom's Ready, overly eager early on, plugged along moving up from seventh, then fifth, to get the place. Dazzling Gem, second at the first two calls, stayed on for third, beaten 5 3/4 lengths. Mo Tom for the second straight race was checked hard on the rail in mid-stretch. This time was worse than the Risen Star. Somehow he managed to finish fourth, a neck behind Dazzling Gem.
The chart call: "Dazzling Gem raced in the two path while under a strong hold on the first turn, tracked the pace on the outside, was asked while two then three wide on the far turn, bumped with Foreveamo inside the quarter-pole and weakened while just able to get the show."
Brad Cox - “Big effort. Really pleased with him. He was a beat horse at the top of the lane, but he showed a lot of fight after getting bounced around a bit. He’s obviously an inexperienced horse. In three weeks, we’ll look at (the Arkansas Derby), but we’ll let him tell us. He’s a nice big long-striding colt. A mile and a quarter shouldn’t be an issue.”
Shaun Bridgmohan - “I thought he ran hard. Very honest. I was laying second. The winner came up inside and he kind of dropped back a little but he never quit. He’s getting better.”
March 30 NOTE: Dazzling Gem was returned to Oaklawn Park on March 28. He has 20 Kentucky Derby points. Trainer Cox talked about what's next, saying, “Go back to the same old line. We’ll let the horse tell us. It’s kind of like one minute, you’re like, ‘You know, maybe we ought to just run in the Derby.’ Another minute, it’s, ‘We have to earn our way into the Derby.’ The thing is just going to be how he moves forward.... Obviously if we’re thinking Kentucky Derby, he’s got to move forward. He’s got to move forward, really, with all these spots we’re talking about," including the Northern Spur, the Lexington Stakes or the Pat Day Mile.
April 4 NOTE: Trainer Cox now talking about maybe skipping the Arkansas Derby and training up to the Kentucky Derby -- if he has enough points to get in.
April 12 NOTE: Joe Talamo has been named to ride Dazzling Gem in the Arkansas Derby, replacing Shaun Bridgmohan, who already had the call on Synchrony for the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on the same day. Word is that Bridgmohan made the commitment before Cox decided to enter Dazzling Gem in the Arkansas Derby.
On April 16 in the Arkansas Derby, Dazzling Gem finished fourth. Creator charged down the stretch between horses to win in an 11-1 upset. Creator came away from the gate last. Gettysburg, with the same owner as Creator, set quick fractions of 22.81, 46.33 and 1:10.61, closely pursued by 4-5 favorite Cupid, with American Pioneer and Unbridled Outlaw in third and fourth position at the first two calls and Gray Sky in third and American Pioneer following the front two after six furlongs. As the stretch run unfolded, four of those five early contenders were out of the picture, and Gettysburg was still fighting for position. But it was Creator who threaded his way through horses to get the lead about 220 yards from the finish line. At that point, the closing Suddenbreakingnews was a head back in second and Whitmore, yet another closer, was third by only a half-length. That was the trifecta at the wire after Creator finished best to win by 1 1/4 length. Whitmore was another 1 1/2 length back of Suddenbreakingnews, and Dazzling Gem finished fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths after running mid-pack most of the way. After the first half-mile, Creator was last, 14 1/4 lengths off the lead. The 1 1/8-mile was timed in 1:50.14.
Brad Cox - “What do we get? Ten points? I was very pleased with the race. Joe kind of chased them a little bit going to the backside. Good ride, moved him around the turn, all opportunity to run down the lane and run a good race. We’ll see how he comes out of it. As of right now, absolutely" training for the Kentucky Derby.
Dazzling Gem didn't have the points to make the Kentucky Derby, then he wasn't entered in the Preakness, connections choosing the Sir Barton Stakes instead. On a sloppy track, Dazzling Gem finished third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths by American Freedom, who came again in the stretch to beat Voluntario in a courageous effort.
SHARP AZTECA (KY)
Owner: Gelfenstein Farm; Breeder: Cloyce C. Clark Jr.; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-2-8-0-0 (14) 2.50; By Freud (Storm Cat, Mariah's Storm) out of So Sharp (Saint Liam, Sister Girl); Foal Date: Jan. 31, 2013; $35,000 OBS August 2014/$220,000 OBS April 2015; Trainer: Jorge Navarro
NEXT START: TBD
Sharp Azteca raced the first four times at Gulfstream Park.
In his December debut he showed promise by running second to Zulu going six furlongs. The second time out was in January, and he finished fifth at 3-5 odds, beaten 7 3/4 lengths by Boalt Hall and a time of 1:23.81. The chart says, "Sharp Azteca was bumped at the start, set a pressured pace from the inside and gave way to the winner after going five furlongs."
He broke his maiden on Feb. 20 in his third outing, a one-turn mile he ran in a sharp 1:35.98. After breaking from post 1 of eight, he got a short lead down the back, opened it to a length in the turn and eased away to a four-length win.
Facing winners for the first time, again at a one-turn mile, he won again, this time by 7 1/2 lengths, even though he ran a slower time of 1:37.25. He attended a reasonable pace early on but was in charge with over half the race left. Only four ran.
Next was the big time, the one-turn Pat Day Mile on Kentucky Derby day. Sharp Azteca won impressively, dispatching 13 foes, clearing by 2 1/2 lengths at the finish line and timed in a swift 1:34.37. He was never worse than second. Forevamo finished second, Star Hill third and Fellowship fourth. The chart call: "Sharp Azteca tracked the pace early on from the five path, stayed around the five path entering the lane while taking command of the lead, then drew away inside the eighth pole and held strong down the lane in the final stages."
Owner: Centennial Farms; Breeder: Blue Devil Racing Stable LLC; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-3-5-1-0 (14) 3.00; By Candy Ride (ARG) (Ride the Rails, Playa Maya (ARG)) out of Union City (Dixie Union, City Sister); Foal Date: April 18, 2013; $325,000 Fasig-Tipson August 2014; Trainer: Jimmy Jerkens
NEXT START: TBD
Unified looked special in his career debut on Feb. 21 at Gulfstream Park, breaking best and running to a front-running, three-length victory over six others. He led through splits of 22.37, 45.14 and 56.83 before hitting the wire in 1:08.95, about 4/5's of a second off the track record. Jerkens had hoped to unveil Unified a few months earlier at Belmont Park but an ankle injury intervened.
Jimmy Jerkens - “He had been doing real good. We would have been pretty disappointed if he at least didn’t run real well. We didn’t know who we were really running up against, but he had been training great for the past month. He couldn’t have broken any sharper today. It looked like they opened his doors before the others.
“He didn’t need any surgery or anything like that (last year). It was just some inflammation and the joint was kind of torn up a little bit, so we had to give him a little time. We brought him down here and so far so good. Candy Rides have been great and he looks like a typical Candy Ride, the good ones. And the Dixie Union on the dam’s side, they’re always very precocious first time out."
In a field of six, Unified won the Bay Shore Stakes at 6-5 odds in his next start. The track was sloppy on Wood Memorial day. He again led at each call, going in 22.65, 45.88, 1:10.34 and finishing in 1:22.86. His margin over runner-up King Kranz was three lengths. The chart call: "Unified established the front shortly after the start and showed the way through solid splits from the two path under some pressure from King Kranz to the outside, remained patiently handled settled into a comfortable rhythm until nearing the quarter pole, got set down continuing just off the inside for home, edged clear under a drive kept busy to the finish."
Jimmy Jerkens: "I saw he wasn't on the lead, but he was close. He broke stupidly sharp last time, which horses never do, and I didn't expect him, but he got the lead easy enough, though the first quarter was bit quick. When I saw King Kranz's jockey scrubbing on him in the middle of the turn, I felt pretty confident. We never shy away, but we don't believe in going from six furlongs to two-turn races, unless it's a special circumstance you don't run into too often. It's always good to develop them in increments."
Jose Ortiz: ""When I asked him to go at the quarter pole, I knew if he kept going at that pace he was going to win. I think he is really, really nice. Now he's got two races that prove that. The horses with five or six races under their belts -- he with just one race -- he beat them."
In the May 14 Peter Pan Stakes, Unified broke sharply but was content to sit off ultra-longshots Singleton and Supah Czech up the backstretch behind splits of 23.32 and 46.38. Supah Czech started backing up going into the sole turn of the race while Unified slipped up near Singleton. He easily passed the pacesetter mid-turn with six furlongs in the book in 1:10.25. Leaving the top of the stretch, Unified put some space between himself and the rest of the eight-horse field. Singleton remained first in pursuit, with Adventist and Decorated Soldier next. In the late going, Governor Malibu and Joel Rosario, who were in sixth place with three furlongs left in the race, made a late run up the rail and seriously challenged Unified nearing the wire. The 1-2 favorite gamely held on to win by three-quarters of a length. The 1 1/8-mile was timed in 1:47.14.
Jimmy Jerkens: "I thought it was great. I thought he rated as good as you could expect for only have two races. I was happy to see that. Jose did a good job of keeping his hands down and keeping him out off the fence. We wanted to give him a little test. We didn't have to completely turn him around, it was one turn. He's got quality. We trained him hard for this race, and he took it like a man. He didn't miss an oat. He actually looks like he's carrying more flesh than he did when he ran the last time. Only the good ones do that.
What about the Belmont? "I don't know. There would have to be a lot of horses going by the wayside for that to happen. But you'd be an idiot nowadays to rule anything out, because things change overnight. It's improbable, but not impossible."
Jose Ortiz: "I thought I had it, but the last couple jumps, he felt the other horse and he got pretty good, very good. It wasn't my Plan A, but it was my Plan B (to sit off the lead). I saw the 2 horse sent, so I got a good position and took off him because I didn't want to get into trouble with that horse. The first quarter mile, he relaxed nicely and then the 1 horse came out got between us, he got a little bit edgy on me. By the half-mile pole, I put the 1 horse away and he then he settled back down and when I asked him to go, he was there."
Donald Little, Jr. managing partner of Centennial Farms: "After the Bay Shore, we weren't really sure where we were going and Dr. Carr and Jimmy talked about it and felt that if we were going to try it, now was the time to do it. It's another step accomplished. Jose said he didn't want the horse in front of him to get away, so he said he may have used him a little bit too soon, but the way he got away from them at the stretch, you could see he was getting a little tired at the end, so Jimmy and Steve will talk about it. Everything is very open. But he's a talented horse, he always tries. I think he's got the competitive spriit you want to see."
THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Jerkens said, "I don't really know where we'll go from here, but so far so good. He looked good this morning. It was a good race, he rated kindly and the pace wasn't crazy. He didn't have to go to the lead. It looked like he liked having that target. I guess he was getting a little tired at the end, but I don't know if it was as much as getting tired or if it was him just getting out in front by himself. It looked like he spurted off again when the horse got to his flank, and that was good to see."
WILD ABOUT DEB (KY)
Owner: Marisa Lizza; Breeder: Northwest Farms LLC; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-4-19-0-0 (30) 2.16; By Eskendereya (Giant's Causeway, Alderbaran Light) out of Smarty Deby (Smart Strike (CAN), Taste the Passion); Foal Date: Feb. 26, 2013; $37,000 RNA Keeneland September 2014/$30,000 OBS April 2015; Trainer: Phil D’Amato
Wild About Deb raced once last year, finishing second to Uncle Lino in a Nov. 29 maiden special weight at Del Mar.
After a four-month layoff, he was a six-length winner at Santa Anita on April 9. Sent off at 3-5 odds in a field of 10 on a sloppy track, he attended a moderate pace before drawing off in the stretch in a respectable time of 1:49.02. In fact, later that day Exaggerator won the Santa Anita Derby in 1:49.66.
Shipped to New York, Wild About Deb finished third, beaten 3 1/4 lengths by Unified, in the May 14 Peter Pan Stakes on a track rated fast. He was sixth by seven lengths and seventh by 4 1/4 lengths in the early going, and at the furlong marker he was five lengths behind. The splits set by Unified were 23.32, 46.38, 1:10.25 and 1:34.46, and his final time was 1:47.14. The chart call: "Wild About Deb, three wide in pursuit from mid pack, came under coaxing three furlongs from home, angled out six to seven wide into upper stretch, offered up a mild kick to secure the show honors in the late stages."
Wild About Deb was shipped to Churchill Downs with either the Belmont Stakes, Matt Winn Stakes or Ohio Derby as possible targets.
May 31 NOTE: Trainer Amato said after a six-furlong workout, “It was a really good breeze. We got him in seven furlongs in 1:27. We’ll see how he comes out of it and go from there, but he gave us indications that the Belmont would be in his reach.”