First Impressions: Kentucky Derby (Part II)

Mendelssohn topped the 2016 KEESEP Yearling Sale at $3 million | Keeneland Photo


LOUISVILLE, Ky – With the 'First Saturday in May' quickly approaching, TDN Senior Editor Steve Sherack caught up with the connections of GI Kentucky Derby contenders to get their first impressions.

“When we were prepping him for the sale, he reminded us of Beholder. He had a whole lot of her characteristics, manners and everything up to that. He was always a nice individual and very classy as a yearling. He brought a little bit more than we expected, but we're not going to complain about that.

When you start prepping them for the sale, you can tell more about them. He moved well out in the field and we had no complaints of him growing up.”

–breeder Fred Mitchell of Clarkland Farm on GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner/G2 UAE Derby hero Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy), a half-brother to champion Beholder (Henny Hughes) and 2016 $3 million KEESEP sale topper.

“Bolt d'Oro was a very nice horse and he always was one of our best yearlings. That's why we sold him-we sell the ones that can bring a lot. He was always a standout.

“Noble Indy was a very nice physical and well-balanced. He was a horse that we offered for sale wanting $50,000 for. Our general manager David Hanley and myself felt like he was a nice horse and that we should get a fair price or we shouldn't sell. He RNA'd for $45,000. Always liked him as a physical and he was very straightforward.”

Elliott Walden on the WinStar Farm-bred duo of MGISW Bolt d'Oro (Medaglia d'Oro) ($630,000 FTSAUG yearling) and GII Twin Louisiana Derby winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Noble Indy (Take Charge Indy) ($45,000 RNA KEESEP yearling).

“I want them to finish in a dead-heat!

I bought Audible and Vino Rosso, and had both of them on the farm. Both horses were very straightforward and acted real well. A good horse usually gives you no problems. A bad horse shows up like a bad penny right away. And these horses looked like they were gonna be good ones.

Audible proves that you don't have to go :10 flat [he breezed in :10 2/5 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream 2yo Sale]. He galloped out real strong and looked like the real deal.”

Jimmy Crupi of New Castle Farm, who pinhooked GI Xpressbet Florida Derby winner Audible (Into Mischief) ($175,000 FTNAUG yearling; $500,000 FTFMAR juvenile) and selected GII Wood Memorial S. hero Vino Rosso (Curlin) ($410,000 KEESEP yearling) on behalf of Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable.

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