Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 46
“I don't think special is a good enough word to
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
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
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.