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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Asmussen’s Army: Astrology, Maclean’s Music, Silver Medallion …

Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 46

“I don't think special is a good enough word to describe him.”

You could hear an abrupt change in Steve Asmussen’s usually matter of fact tone as he spoke about Maclean’s Music, and why not? The son of Distorted Humor absolutely whistled Saturday at Santa Anita as he contested the lead through zippy fractions of 21.24 and 43.48 before taking complete control to win the maiden race by more than seven lengths. Rider Mike Smith did not need to do much as he hit the wire in 1:07.44 for the six panels and earned a record breaking 114 Beyer in the process.

Owned by breeder Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stable, and named for their grandson, Maclean’s Music is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Forest Music. She was a talented, multiple stakes winner in the middle of the last decade, and produced Maclean's Music in her first attempt at motherhood.

While it is unlikely that the fabulous debut winner will be pushed for the Kentucky Derby, Asmussen did not rule out having the colt ready for the Preakness, when I asked of the possibility. He would not say much about his next race though.
"We're very excited and will manage him very carefully. We will wait until he is just as ready for his next start."

If Maclean’s Music is the most talented sophomore in his barn, it is Silver Medallion (left) who is the most prepared for an assault on the Kentucky Derby. The recently purchased son of Badge of Silver is coming off of successive stakes wins in the turfy Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita, and the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate, where he scored impressively over a solid field that included Positive Response and Comma to the Top among others. Asmussen said he is happy with his training since the win, and confirmed that the Santa Anita Derby will be his next start.

Also on the Derby trail, but running out of time is Astrology (below), who will make his season debut on Sunday in New Mexico’s Sunland Derby. Winner of the Iroquois and runner-up in the Kentucky Jockey Club (both at Churchill Downs) last fall; Astrology has been behind schedule since the rainy winter in Southern California, according to Asmussen.

"The Sunland Derby is an ambitious start to his 3-year-old season but I feel very good about his health and conditioning.” Sounding less than overly confident, Asmussen went on to say, “It's a very tall order to run a mile and an eighth off the bench but he will answer a lot of our questions."

I agree with Asmussen on his cautious approach with the son of A.P. Indy. It would take a strong effort in the Sunland Derby, and then probably another solid effort to expect the colt to be a threat on the First Saturday in May.

When I asked him to compare the relative Derby hopes of his top two colts for Louisville, Asmussen made it clear which one is closer to being prepared, "Astrology is behind schedule but has the opportunity to prove what Silver Medallion already has proven."

Meanwhile other foot soldiers in Asmussen’s Army can be seen in stakes races around the nation, including possibly the well regarded Albergatti, who his trainer said was part of an “insane pace scenario” in the recent San Felipe Stakes won impressively by Premier Pegasus.

While it is clear that Asmussen has the type of numbers and talent in his stable to be a big part of most of the three-year-old stakes this spring and beyond, today I learned which colt brings about an air of excitement to his voice … Maclean’s Music might just be for real.



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Older Comments about Asmussen’s Army: Astrology, Maclean’s Music, Silver Medallion …...

I thought the same thing, Mike. The dirt track helped get Asmussen there, even if it is one of the fastets dirt tracks in our history.
It was funny to see Mike Smith in Rachel's silks, but he seems to be riding a lot of Asmussens's horses. It is great that Asmussen is in California this year. I wish more eastern trainers would ship out for big races. Hey it is a dirt track now!
Two great debut wins to be sure. I was impressed how much you could tell that Asmussen loves this colt today on the phone, but ... I think of the two, Bind is more likely to excel at classic distances.
I thought Bind's Maiden win was impressive, but after watching Saturday I would have to say Maclean's Music looked even better. How do you compare the two?

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website, and co-hosts the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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