TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

Highly Motivated

4) HIGHLY MOTIVATED (c, Into MischiefStrong Incentive, by Warrior's Reward)
O/B-Klaravich Stables, Inc (KY). T-Chad Brown. Sales History: $240,000 wlg '18 KEENOV. Lifetime Record: SW & MGSP, 5-2-2-1, $320,050.
Last Start: 2nd GII Toyota Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 3
Accomplishments: 1st Nyquist S., KEE, Nov. 6, 3rd GIII Gotham S., AQU, Mar. 6
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 50

For this $240,000 KEENOV Into Mischief colt to finish second and only a neck behind the undefeated juvenile champ in his first two-turn attempt says a lot for both Highly Motivated and trainer Chad Brown. This colt was two-for-three in progressively better sprints at age two, culminating with an eventual key-race stakes victory on the Breeders' Cup undercard. Brown gave Highly Motivated some extra time after that November win to recover from stiffness; he resurfaced belatedly in the one-turn-mile GIII Gotham S., yet failed to impress with a no-impact third as the favorite. Brown does not usually press horses along on the Derby trail under those circumstances, so it would not have been shocking to see Highly Motivated get rerouted on a different path. But Brown gave him one more chance to prove he belonged in the Blue Grass S., and it was ultra-impressive how he took heat from the top soph in the nation and kept turning back Essential Quality until the final few jumps to the wire (both earned 97 Beyers).