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.