Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 14
With patrons ready to say adios to a rather tumultuous
season, it was fitting to have an impressive son of Indian Charlie, named Adios
Charlie, have the last laugh this afternoon at the Big A. Guided by a crafty
ride from Rajiv Maragh, Adios Charlie won the closing day feature at Aqueduct
going away to score by 2 ½ lengths. For much of the race though, victory in the
$150,000 Jerome Stakes did not look like it would be that easy.
After breaking on top, Adios Charlie relinquished the
early lead to race favorite, Cal Nation. Sitting close to the leader through
the early stages, the Stanley Hough trained colt moved on the leader on the far
turn, but looked in trouble when Justin Phillip made a quick surge to nab the
lead on the outside. As Astrology and Rattlesnake Bridge loomed on the outside,
Adios Charlie became the forgotten horse down on the inside. Not for long.
Finding a new gear on the sloppy Aqueduct strip, the $400,000 two-year-old in training
purchase surged past the leader and went on to with sudden and surprising ease.
Adios Charlie covered the one mile in 1:36.81 and paid
$14.60 as the 6-1 fifth choice. Astrology got up late to pass Justin Phillip
for the place. Both the winner and runner-up are now possible entrants in the
Preakness in four week’s time.
Regarding his next race, victorious trainer, Stanley
Hough said, "There are a lot of options for 3-year-olds," he said.
"We'll try to make the right decision. Obviously he's got some talent, and
hopefully he'll move forward."
While the Jerome result represented yet another upset
in a three-year-old graded stakes race this spring, the win should come as no
real surprise to those who saw the powerful colt break his maiden just three and a half
weeks earlier. That day, Adios Charlie made a most impressive return to the
races when he ran away from a maiden field at Gulfstream Park. Under a hand
ride by Maragh, he coasted by 6 ¾ lengths in solid time for the 6 ½ furlong affair.
In his only previous race, Adios Charlie had finished a promising 2nd
in a Belmont maiden race last October. During his layoff, the Stanley Hough and
Robert Sahn owned runner recuperated from a stress fracture to his tibia.
With only three races under his belt, the Preakness
would be a tall order, but Adios Charlie is obviously talented, and he is on an
almost identical path forged by Bernardini only five years ago. In 2006,
Bernardini also used a sharp maiden win at Gulfstream Park, and a victory in
the one mile Withers, in his second and third lifetime races, to prepare for a
Preakness victory on his way to a year-end championship.
In the day’s other stakes race for the sophomore boys,
it was Derby Kitten rolling from last to first in the stretch to take the
Lexington Stakes at Keeneland by 1 ½ lengths at odds of 9-1. The winner’s purse
was not enough to get the son of Kitten’s Joy anywhere near the magic earnings number
to get into the Derby, meaning none of today’s runners will make into the
starting gate on the first Saturday in May.