Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
Emcee, a leading contender in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Sprint off
the strength of his performance in the Forego last month, was on the worktab again
Friday at Greentree Training Center near Saratoga Springs. Emcee completed his 5 furlong drill in :59.2,
besting both Alpha and Questing by two full seconds. The
newly minted stable star ran his first race just 13 months ago.
Owned by Godolphin Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Emcee
has been fortunate enough to have patient handlers that have allowed him to develop
at his own pace. After coming up lame
the before a scheduled race at Saratoga as a 2-year-old,
The now four-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song won that first
start, a maiden special weight at Belmont under Alan Garcia last September, very
impressively but had some issues after the race and didn’t run again until
February. In his second start, he defeated GI-placed
Associate in an allowance at Gulfstream, a race which McLaughlin
touted Emcee as a stakes horse beforehand.
After that win, he jumped into the G3 Tom Fool, finishing third to
Calibrachoa and Caleb’s Posse in a good effort as the second choice before
turning in a rather lackluster performance in the Carter, checking in fourth
and second to last behind Jackson Bend, Caleb’s Posse, and Shackleford. Emcee then had a confidence booster, winning
an allowance optional claiming in May. He was off for three months and returned in the Vanderbilt for a tenacious
third, just getting nipped at the wire by longshot Poseidon’s Warrior and
Emcee ran back in the Forego a month later, and this time there
would be no denying him. Emcee laid just off the pace until heading the leaders at
the top of the lane, kicking away mid-stretch.
He ended up trouncing his six foes in the 7 furlong contest, earning a
facile 4 ½ length victory in a speedy 1:21 flat, the fastest Forego time ever
at the 7 furlong distance. The grade I
was his first graded stakes victory, and a true breakthrough performance after
coming so close so many times in his rather brief career.
Emcee is definitely a horse to look out for in the Sprint, but
McLaughlin said he may also run in the Dirt Mile. At this point they're leaning toward the
sprint due to the fact that the mile at Santa Anita is two turns whereas at
many tracks it’s just one. I’m hoping he
goes in the sprint, and I will be watching to see whether he cross-enters when
pre-entries are announced on Wednesday.