Revolutionary was not the most impressive winner yesterday; Animal Kingdom and Dreaming of Julia saw to that. He hasn’t beaten the most impressive horses out there; the unheralded duo of Escapefromreality and Mylute were the second place finishers in his two stakes wins. He is not even the most highly regarded sophomore in his stable; that honor would surely fall to Verrazano or the aforementioned Stonestreet filly. Yet, despite all of this, I find myself liking the WinStar color bearer more with every passing day.
After running a somewhat promising, but checkered first three races, Revolutionary has rattled off three straight wins, and has done so in a variety of ways. In his maiden breaking performance, he was able to stay close to the early pace, before taking command on the far turn. The 8 ½ length romp over a next-out winner was a sign that the dark bay colt was beginning to put things together.
Then came the Withers; what can you say about the Withers? I mean this horse was shut down, shuffled back, had a check bounce, missed lunch, and had his hair pulled, all within the first mile of the grade 3 affair. Miraculously undeterred, he finally found room in mid-stretch. As soon as Revolutionary had a bit of open space, he accelerated as smoothly as I can only imagine a Lamborghini Veneno would do, and got up to win by a neck. It was the greatest rising from dead since that famous fellow did it on Easter many years back. While the Withers had all the drama of a great soap-opera, his next race was all business.
In yesterday’s Louisiana Derby, Revolutionary drew a less than ideal inside post position in a large 14-horse field. It would not prove to be a problem. Content to head into the first turn in 13th place, and on the rail, the Todd Pletcher trained youngster went to work on the backstretch. Picking up horses while shifting to the outside, by the time horse and rider hit the far turn, they were in high gear. One by one, Revolutionary and Javier Castellano passed horses on the outside, and as the large field came careening off the turn, he had dead aim on the leaders. Despite the wide turn, he reached the leaders quickly in the lane, but for whatever reason, he did not open up on the horses he caught. Perhaps still showing a touch of immaturity, he seemed to wait just a bit for more competition, to the point of it looking like Mylute might run right by him. Again Revolutionary demonstrated his class, and by the time the pair hit the wire, it was clear who the better horse was. Soon after the wire, he was open lengths in front.
Neither of these neck stakes wins may look like the stuff of legend on paper, but visually, they were proof of his class. At the very least, he should have learned a ton for his looming 20-horse date with destiny. His rapid ascent up the ranks of the top three-year-olds in the nation could come as no surprise to anyone familiar with his pedigree.
A son of the ill-fated, juvenile champion War Pass, Revolutionary’s female family is simply as good as it gets. From his Alabama winning dam, Runup the Colors, to the all-time great foundation mare, La Troienne, this family tree is pure hickory. With female influences like Up the Flagpole, a full sister to Prospector’s Delite, and the excellent Herbager mare, The Garden Club, working its way back to La Troienne, Revolutionary has so many good horses in his pedigree; it would have been a surprise if he did not have serious talent. Talent he has, and perhaps also, a penchant for the dramatic, which may well carry him to great heights.
What’s next for Revolutionary? A few days of rest and relaxation in the Kentucky Bluegrass at WinStar Farm before heading to Louisville to begin preparations in earnest for the 139th running of the most exciting two minute in sports.
Does Revolutionary have a blanket of roses in his future? That is the question we all want answered, isn’t it? I believe his pedigree and his racing IQ are off the charts. Whether or not he is fast enough remains a rather large question, but with a plenty of good speed horses pointing for the Derby, it is wise to look for a horse with a strong closing punch, and one that can stay the full ten furlong trip. I think Revolutionary fits the bill on both accounts. While many will point to yesterday’s Beyer speed figure of 93 as reason to why he will not win in 34 days, I hold a much more positive view. His time of 1:50 1/5 yesterday was only average, but it was not a particularly fast track at Fair Grounds, and I like the 12 and change he came home in.
I guess what I am really trying to say as far as his chances in the Kentucky Derby, is … Revolutionary is good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, I like him.