- Stevie Wonderboy was a hot horse ever since his 46 second workout on Monday, in which observers raved about how easily he did it. And he was hot on the tote board in the Juvenile too; 8-1 in the morning line, he opened at 7-2 and drifted up to 9-2. I was so out of my routine that I never got to check out the show pools, but I imagine there was some Merv Money going on the nose. Like the Juv Fillies, it was a fast pace – :45 3/5 and 1:10 3/5 - two fifths slower than the girls. Henny Hughes emerged with the lead and was strong down the lane, turning the tables on First Samurai. The final time of 1:41 3/5 was more than two seconds faster than the fillies, and the closing fractions of 31.03 for the last 2 ½ furlongs and 6.30 for the last sixteenth show that this was one impressive rally by the winner! This was not a case of the front runners dying; Henny Hughes ran an amazing race in his first start for Kiaran McLaughlin and Steve Wonderboy more so for catching him.
His jockey Garrett Gomez told the UK's Sporting Life:
"I had a decent trip early on, but a horse down on the inside swung out at the five-eighths pole, and I clipped heels with him.The winner is a son of Stephen Got Even (A.P. Indy/Seattle Slew); I wrote of his highly unusual pedigree in this post; in short, his grandparents are half-brother/sister - he’s inbred 3x3 to the mare Weekend Surprise. The dosage boys will love this one for the Derby with his 1.86; and he has stallions like Roberto, Cox’s Ridge, Seattle Slew, and Secretariat (twice by virtue of his daughter Weekend Surprise) in his first four generations.
"I took back a little and dropped to the inside, and from the half-mile pole on I was waiting to push the button. When I did, those other two horses (Henny Hughes & First Samurai) gave me more of a fight than I expected.
"My horse has a heckuva turn of foot, but I had trouble getting to them for a minute. When he found his best stride at the sixteenth pole, he wore them down and ran a huge race.
The second year stallion Stephen Got Even seems to be coming on after a slow first year in which he had no stakes winners and just five overall. In 2005, he has three stakes winners, including multiple graded winner Don’t Get Mad, and is up to 29 winners overall. The win propels him to number three on the second year sire list by earnings, behind Fusaichi Pegasus and Giant’s Causeway. Just last week his three year old daughter For All We Know took the Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run at Keeneland.
Moral Victory: Already mentioned Henny Hughes. First Samurai was hardly disgraced in defeat. He was further back than usual after a bobble at the start, and picked up horses willingly while wide around the turn, despite the fact that he was, according to Frank Brothers, bothered by the dirt hitting him. He flattened out late from his efforts, but could very well improve when they stretch out and go around two turns. Besides, what Derby aspirant wants to win the Juvenile anyway?
Big Loser: Sorcerer's Stone, bet down to 7-1, was not a factor.