By Joe Bianca
Team Valor International and WinStar Farm’s ‘TDN Rising Star’ Gouverneur Morris (Constitution), a distant runner-up in Saturday’s GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, will pass on a run in the GI TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Team Valor’s Barry Irwin confirmed to TDN Tuesday. The story was first reported by Daily Racing Form.
“I thought he had a very hard race and was not hoping to see that hard of a race,” Irwin said of Gouverneur Morris, who was caught wide on both turns and covered 39 more feet than winner Maxfield (Street Sense), according to Trakus data. “He lost a lot of ground and ran over a lot more ground than everyone else. We like him and think he’s going to be a Triple Crown-type horse. I’ll do with him what I did with [Irwin’s 2011 GI Kentucky Derby winner] Animal Kingdom and turn him out, give him six weeks in the paddock at WinStar.”
Irwin added that his main goal with Gouverneur Morris’s layoff will be for the $575,000 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream buy to add weight to his frame.
“Hopefully he’ll have a growth spurt, gain some weight and get more robust,” Irwin said. “When I bought him, he was a little underweight, he gained some weight but is still a little light and we want to do the right thing and build him back up.”
Hammered down to 3-5 when debuting on closing day at Saratoga, the gray won by a wrapped-up nine lengths, but showed some greenness that day when having to be asked along early by jockey John Velazquez. Irwin said he saw some of that reappear Saturday at Keeneland when Gouverneur Morris “dropped the bit around the three-eighths pole” and that the colt needs to develop mentally as well as physically
“He’s just green,” Irwin commented. “Three times in that first race, he did kind of weird things. He’s still immature. He’s got all the ability in the world, but that’s why I want to give him a little time.”