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HRN Original Blog:
Past the Grandstand

No Distinction Holds Promise

The 2013 Triple Crown merely muddled the three-year-old picture, leaving no clear leader among the group. Is Kentucky Derby victor Orb, the only sophomore to capture two grade ones so far this year, the best in the division? Or does the hard-trying Preakness Stakes winner, Oxbow, sit at the top of list? Perhaps it is Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice that will reign above the others when all is said and done. Or maybe there is a newcomer lurking in the shadows, prepared to ascend to the pinnacle... Maybe a newcomer named No Distinction.


Although No Distinction finished eighth at Oaklawn Park in his debut, the dismal finish is the only blemish on the three-year-old’s record and can certainly have a line drawn through it. Rushed along the inside, No Distinction encountered a terribly deep track that was his undoing in the stretch, causing him to weaken down the lane.


Under fairer circumstances, No Distinction rebounded in his following start, yet another six-furlong maiden special weight at the Hot Springs, Arkansas track. On the undercard for the Arkansas Derby (GI), the dark bay/brown Randy Morse trainee exited the outside stall in a clean manner prior to settling off the pace. Inching closer to the pacesetter as the field of twelve entered the far turn, No Distinction displayed impressive acceleration as he swung to the outside, collaring the pair of horses ahead of him.


Despite struggling to change leads at the top of the homestretch, No Distinction passed his rivals with ease, running greenly as he drew clear from his competitors. Lengthening his advantage with each powerful stride, No Distinction crossed the wire 8 ¼ lengths ahead of his nearest rival, completing the three-quarters of a mile distance in 1:09.75.


At the end of the Oaklawn meet, No Distinction shipped to Churchill Downs, where he faced winners for the first time in his third career start, a six and one-half-furlong allowance. Among the ten horses that lined up in the gate with the favorite were the multiple graded stakes-placed Special Jo and the previously highly touted Title Contender. No Distinction again settled just off the leaders, appearing keen down the backstretch as he raced rather greenly.


But around the far turn, No Distinction found his best stride, drawing even with the pacesetters near the quarter pole. With a furlong remaining, No Distinction and the Argentine-bred Googleado galloped away from the others, dueling down the stretch. No Distinction always had the edge, however, seeming to toy with his competition as he drew clear from Googleado to win the race by ¾ of a length.


Remaining in allowance company, No Distinction made his following start on June 14 in yet another six and one-half-furlong sprint at Churchill. The heavy favorite in a seven-horse field that included Maybesomaybenot – a graded stakes winner as a two-year-old – and the stakes-placed runners Indisputable and Lew and Mike, No Distinction utilized his usual tactic of tracking the leaders, racing three-wide down the backside.


Looming large on the outside around the final bend, No Distinction seized the lead with sheer effortlessness, striking to the front with power. Although he struggled to maintain the correct lead down the lane, No Distinction exhibited brilliance, widening his lead to score by 5 ¼ lengths.


Ahead of No Distinction – a colt from the same tail female family as champion Bernardini – are tougher tests that he appears capable of conquering. Slated to make his next start at Saratoga, No Distinction could be seen next in the Amsterdam Stakes (GII) on July 28. Where he will rank among the other sophomores at the end of the year remains to be seen, but a bright future certainly seems to be ahead for this one.

 

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About Mary Cage

 

Mary Cage, a 19-year-old avid fan of horse racing, has been around horses all her life, having owned, shown, and judged them for as long as she can remember. She began writing her own horse racing blog, Past the Grandstand, in August 2011 and has since been published with the BloodHorse's website, the American Quarter Horse Association's magazine "America's Horse", and Southern Racehorse Magazine. Blogging about the sport of horse racing combines her love for horse racing and writing. In her personal horse experience, she has won several horse judging contests at major stock shows and, in the show ring, is a Texas 4-H State Champion and Appaloosa Youth World Championship Show Top Ten finalist. 

 

Mary has always aspired to have a career with horses and since her love for horse racing began, she has dreamed of pursuing a career in the Thoroughbred racing industry, possibly as a writer. With this blog, she hopes to show readers horse racing through the eyes of a young fan as she writes about assorted horse racing topics.