Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
One hundred thousand dollars. That’s a lot of money. It’s also what it would cost to supplement a non-Triple Crown nominated horse to racing’s Middle Jewel. Most years, the question whether a horse should be supplemented to the Preakness for that large fee does not even come into play, but 2013 could be different. With only a maiden win to his credit, the notion that Abstraction was the real deal was more an idea than fact. Today, that idea moved a whole lot closer to reality, when the lightly raced son of Pulpit won the Federico Tesio Stakes in style. Sent off as an overwhelming 4-5 favorite in the field of six despite his thin chunk of past performances, Abstraction was a horse in need of running room for much of the 1 1/16 miles of today’s feature at Pimlico. Apparently his rider was none too worried. When Leandro Goncalves finally angled out the good looking son of Pulpit for an unobstructed path in the stretch, his mount responded. Leveling out inside the eighth pole, Abstraction turned it on late to power by the pair that had made the slow early pace and cruised to the wire 2 1/4 lengths the best in the local prep for the Preakness.
“I was trapped the whole way and he gave me everything he had,” said Goncalves. “He helped me push horses out of my way and get out. When I got him outside at the 3/16ths pole, I asked him. That’s the key. You get him outside and he has that big kick and he switched leads and it was pretty much over. He keeps getting better and better as he has matured. He has a lot of talent.”
It was an impressive win for a talented colt making only his third lifetime start. The My Meadowview Farm LLC charge finished a rallying runner-up in his six furlong career debut back in February. Last month, he ran one of the more impressive maiden races of the year, with an eye-catching win for trainer David Carroll. The 9 3/4 length romp at Fair Grounds, in his first stretch-out, garnered national attention, and prompted the big favoritism today. In easily running by Heat Press and Rienzi today at the same track that will host the Preakness in three weeks, he not only proved himself as a legitimate stakes horse, but he also created a dilemma for his connections. As you could probably tell from the opening of this article, Abstraction is not Triple Crown nominated.
“He’s a very improving horse who has always shown talent,” Carroll said. “Today was a big step forward with the ship and a paceless race. But he showed today he has a big heart. He’s always a horse who trains with talent. He has to go out there and do it. It was a great learning experience for him. He was trapped down inside. He got a lot of dirt. He had to make room and once he did he picked it up nicely and galloped out strong. He’s got talent and hopefully he’ll keep improving.”
Improving and talented, yes, but enough to have his owners pony up 100k to test the top three-year-olds in the nation in the Preakness? Understandably, Carroll would make no commitments in the winner’s circle. I do not envy this decision.