TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

Likeable

2) LIKEABLE (c, Frosted–Dashing Debby, by Medaglia d’Oro)
O-Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable & Stonestreet Stables LLC. B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC (Ky). T-Todd Pletcher. Sales history: $350,000 yrl ’19 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 3-1-1-0, $49,050.
Last Start: 13th GI TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Kee, Nov. 6
Accomplishments: Mdn win, Belmont, Sept. 19
Next Start: Uncommitted
Equineline PPs. Ky Derby Points: 0.

Likeable ran 13th in the Juvenile and has only a maiden win to his credit, so yes, it does seem a little outlandish to have him ranked this highly to start the season. But I’ve been intrigued by this $350,000 KEESEP Frosted colt since his unveiling at Saratoga, and see no reason to bury him deeper down the list because a more polished version of Likeable has the potential to explosively improve at age three. His Aug. 22 off-turf, seven-furlong debut caught the eye because Likeable was widest on the turn, moved (prematurely) to engage the leaders, got banged around in the stretch, yet still didn’t pack it in while fighting to the finish against a well-meant winner. He stretched to a one-turn mile at Belmont Sept. 15, flashing sharp speed under restraint while pulling in spots before swatting away a 4-5 fave on the turn and cantering home by 8 1/2 lengths. Trainer Todd Pletcher then gambled on throwing Likeable into the Breeders’ Cup, and he ran like a youngster not quite ready for prime time, dragging the rider four wide through the turn to engage a 41-1 kamikaze pacemaker through the fastest opening quarter in the Juvenile since 2014 and that race’s fastest half-mile split since 2003. After a bit of time off, Likeable has resumed breezing at Palm Beach Downs in Florida, where his strong early turn of foot should be a great match for Gulfstream’s speed-conducive surface.

VIDEO PPS

FINISH RACE
13th GI TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
1st Maiden
2nd Maiden