Photo: Heidi E. Carpenter
Lovable maiden no more, Irish You Well made no mistake of today’s opener at Monmouth Park. Taking complete control of the maiden special weight on the far turn, the Donegal Racing runner opened up an insurmountable lead early in the stretch under Jersey Joe Bravo, and coasted home to a ‘win by as much as you please’ kind of win.
The chestnut colt by Broken Vow, out of the Pulpit mare, Pun, had been to the starting gate eight times without a victory before today, but he was far from your average maiden. After the improving $170,000 Keeneland yearling purchase knocked on the door against some well intended maidens early this year at Fair Grounds, especially after the addition of blinkers, his connections decided to bite the bullet and enter him in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby. In all honestly, he never looked like a winner that day, but he moved up nicely on the outside and kept running down the Hawthorne lane to be clearly best of the rest behind a Dynamic Impact and Midnight Hawk stretch duel.
From there, the maiden was spotted in even a tougher spot in Belmont Park’s Grade 2 Peter Pan. I’m not sure if the sloppy track that afternoon suited him, but he again was full of run on the far turn and the stretch, and finished a solid third once again.
The Peter Pan, by the way, has turned out to be quite the key race. Race winner, Tonalist, came back to win the Belmont Stakes, while the Peter Pan runner-up, Commissioner, ran a bang up race in the final leg of the Triple Crown to finish a close second. Irish You Well continued the great form of Peter Pan competitors with today’s romp on the Jersey Shore.
After today's 7 1/2 length score, the Donegal Racing account on Twitter let the world know their plans for the impressive colt.
The Mid-Summer Derby would seem to be a lofty aspiration for a horse still eligible for non-winners of one other than, but just as it was said before today’s race that Irish You Well was no ordinary maiden, we can now see that Irish You Well is not your run of the mill maiden winner.
Some horses are precocious and come out running, while others take their sweet time to demonstrate their class. Irish You Well certainly falls into the latter group. Winless in the first eight starts of his career, I suspect the Wayne Catalano trained colt might just get a favorable taste of this winning thing … just don’t look for him to work his way through his conditions. Travers ahoy!