By Alan Carasso
In 2016, just a few months after completing a championship season with a victory in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Nyquist (Uncle Mo) made the first start of his 3-year-old season in the GII San Vicente S. before adding the GI Florida Derby and GI Kentucky Derby. Reigning Eclipse Award winner Storm the Court (Court Vision) will look to emulate that success by kicking off his season in the seven-furlong test Sunday afternoon at Santa Anita.
The bay colt defeated 1-5 Garth (Into Mischief) in his Aug. 10 bow over 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar Aug. 10, but he was involved in that bumping incident shortly after the break in the GI Del Mar Futurity and dumped Flavien Prat. Well beaten when third to 'TDN Rising Star' Eight Rings (Empire Maker) in the GI American Pharoah S. Sept. 27, the $5,000 Fasig-Tipton February yearling turned $60,000 OBS April breezer was no better than the 45-1 second longest price on the board for the Nov. 1 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but he found himself on the lead and gamely held off dirt debutant Anneau d'Or (Medaglia d'Oro) by a head.
“It's seven eighths, he doesn't have to win it, but it's a good race to get him started in,” trainer Peter Eurton told TDN's Joe Bianca earlier this week. “It used to be done a lot more often than it is now, starting off [at seven furlongs], but it worked out timing-wise for me.”
Silver Charm (Silver Ghost) scooped the 1997 San Vicente en route to his Triple Crown near-miss.
The latter's trainer Bob Baffert saddles Nadal (Blame), who became a no-brainer 'Rising Star' when scampering home a 3 3/4-length winner of his 6 1/2-furlong bow Jan. 19. A $65,000 purchase out of the 2018 Keeneland September sale, the bay glided through an eighth of a mile in :10 flat (see below) ahead of last year's Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale and was hammered down for $700,000 to Kerri Radcliffe, bidding on behalf of a partnership that includes George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman and Mark Mathiesen. Anything approaching his debut 98 Beyer Speed Figure likely wins this by daylight.
WATCH: Nadal breezing for last year's Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale
Carrie Brodgen's Machmer Hall has had great success breeding to Twirling Candy, accounting for 'TDN Rising Star' Gift Box and Thursday's G3 UAE 2000 Guineas hero Fore Left to name a few. The Machmer Hall-bred Ra'ad got a useful education when fourth to the still-unbeaten Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile) on local debut Oct. 26 but most recently improved to validate 7-10 favoritism in besting next-out maiden winner Phast Pharoah (American Pharoah) by 2 1/2 lengths at Los Alamitos Dec. 7.