Before saddling Maryland-bred multiple stakes winner Alwaysmining in the Preakness Stakes, trainer Kelly Rubley will send out another promising sophomore, Top Line Growth, in the Sir Barton.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Sir Barton winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become the first horse to sweep what wouldn’t become known as the Triple Crown until Gallant Fox matched the feat in 1930.
Top Line Growth, a Maryland-bred son of Tapizar, cruised to a front-running 9 1/2-length triumph in his April 22 debut at Laurel Park, running about 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.77.
“That was a nice effort. We had always thought he was a nice horse, but I actually thought he might need some experience because he’s just a big, goofy boy,” Rubley said. “But he showed us he’s got the ability, that’s for darn sure. Now he just needs the experience.”
Top Line Growth has breezed twice over the all-weather surface at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., going four furlongs in 48.80 seconds May 6, fastest of six horses, and 49 seconds May 12, ranking fourth of 10 horses.
“He’s just a big, growthy horse and he’s actually been in my barn for a year now. We took our time. The owners were wonderful. I kept telling them this horse is wonderful and he’s worth the wait, and he certainly showed us why.”
Though still establishing his running style, Rubley didn’t feel Top Notch Growth necessarily needs to be on the lead as he was in his unveiling.
“That wasn’t our expectation,” she said. “We did think we’d need to help him get out of the gate a little bit and he just never looked back.”
Rubley also entered Pretty Good Year, a maiden winner at first asking Jan. 10 at Laurel Park and most recently third in a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance April 13 at Laurel behind Still Dreaming, entered in Saturday’s Chick Lang.
King for a Day is entered to make his 3-year-old debut in the Sir Barton. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the Uncle Mo colt broke his maiden at second asking last October at Belmont Park prior to a fourth-place finish in the Nov. 24 Kentucky Jockey Club, beaten two lengths, both races coming at the Sir Barton distance. The KJC winner, Signalman, is entered in the Preakness, while runner-up Plus Que Parfait won the UAE Derby and ran in the Kentucky Derby.
--Trifor Gold was a distant second to Alwaysmining in the Federico Tesio April 20 at Laurel.
--Tone Broke won twice last fall at Remington Park and raced over the winter in Dubai without success.
--V.I.P. Ticket has finished first in his last three races but was disqualified to second for interference in his most recent on April 12 at Charles Town.