years rendition of the Saratoga
Special was special indeed. Returning to the races just 17 days
after winning his five furlong maiden in a sharp :58.27, Corfu made
every step a winning one in the Grade 2 race for juveniles. Breaking
sharply for John Velazquez, Corfu threw down early fractions of :21.62,
and :44:02. Rounding the turn, the Pletcher trainee zipped six
furlongs in 1:08.61. As a leg weary Corfu staggered through the
Bryan, who had been tracking Corfu in the early stages, made his
way to the throat-latch of Corfu. The two colts battled it out to the
wire, both slowing with every step. In the end, a determined Corfu
refused to let Wired Bryan by, winning by a flared nostril. Corfu's
closed quickly up the rail for third place. Corfu's display of
brilliant speed and tenacity earned him a new stakes record of
1:15.57 for 6 ½ furlongs. He nudged out 2008 Saratoga Special champ
Run Away And Hide's stakes record of 1:15.67 and was just a little
over two seconds shy of Quality Road's track record of 1:13.74.
(Malibu Moon - Fashion Cat, by Forest Wildcat) brought $185,000 as a
Fasig Tipton July yearling. Pin-hooked to the Barrett’s March
Selected Two-Year-Old Sale by Breaking Point Farm, the son of Malibu
Moon breezed the fastest two furlongs of the sale in :20 4/5. Owners
Michael Tabor, John Magnier and Derrick Smith purchased the
sale-topping colt for $675,000 and sent him to the barn of Todd
Pletcher. To date, Corfu has won both of his starts and earned
$168,000. The question on everyone's lips now is – how far will
Corfu's breathtaking speed take him?
a son of A.P. Indy out of the French Group 1 winner Macoumba, was a
very precocious youngster, which is rare for offspring of A.P. Indy.
The dark bay colt raced only twice. He placed second in his debut in
late April of his two year old season. A month later he beat maidens
going five furlongs on the dirt at Hollywood Park. Unfortunately,
Malibu Moon’s promising career was cut short due to a slab fracture
of his right knee.
Moon started his breeding career in Maryland at Country Life Farm
where he stood for $3,000. In his first crop, the well-bred stallion
sired ten blacktype runners and his daughter Moon Thistle won the
Russian Derby (Gr.1, 1 ½ miles, turf). The following year, along
came 2004 Champion Two Year Old Declan’s Moon and Grade 1 sprinter
Malibu Mint. Four years later, Malibu Moon moved to the big leagues
stallion is quickly taking the place of his retired sire as a stamina
influence. Eight of his offspring have won at 1 ¼ miles or
farther, including this year's Kentucky Derby hero Orb, CCA Oaks
winners Devil May Care and Funny Moon, Personal Ensign Handicap
heroine Ask The Moon, and Delaware Handicap winner Life At Ten. All
but two of Malibu Moon's winners at 1 ¼ miles are fillies.
date, the stallion has sired one champion, 28 graded stakes winners
and 70 stakes winners. His progeny win at all distances and over all
surfaces. He's currently the second-leading sire in terms of
Cat (Forest Wildcat - Hold to Fashion, by Hold Your Peace) made only
three starts. She didn't make it to the races until September of her
three year old season. The daughter of Forest Wildcat expressed
talent in her debut, laying down swift fractions of :45.53 and
:58.03, and recording a final time of 1:11.48 for six furlongs. After
placing in an allowance race, the filly was unplaced in her final
start. She retired with a 3-1-1-0 ($29,240).
her brief stint on the racetrack, Fashion Cat is a well-bred mare.
Her most accomplished half sibling, Peace Rules (by Jules) won the
Generous (G-3) stakes at two. As a three year old, Peace Rules won
the Louisiana Derby and Bluegrass Stakes before finishing third in
the 2003 Kentucky Derby, beaten only a gallant head by Empire Maker
for second. The courageous colt went on to win the Haskell, Suburban
and two more graded stakes, and placing in the Travers.
Cat's other stakes winning half sibling Wild Fashion (by Once Wild)
was a good sprint mare, winning or placing in more than half of her
46 starts at the allowance and listed stakes level. An unraced half
sibling Silverous (by Silver Buck) foaled a restricted stakes place
a broodmare, Fashion Cat has bore five foals of racing age. Four have
started, three are winners. Corfu is her first stakes winner.
Fashion Cat has a yearling Tapit filly and an Artie Shiller weanling.
second dam Hold to Fashion (by Hold your Peace) didn't win a stakes
race, but his third dam Toga toga (by Greek Answer) was a Grade 3
stakes winning sprinter.
likely receives his blazing speed from his damsire FOREST WILDCAT
(Storm Cat - Victoria Beauty, by Bold Native). While he was
precocious enough as a two year old, the son of Storm Cat didn't face
serious stakes company until he was five. He won four stakes and
equaled the track record twice at Pimlico for six furlongs in 1:09.
Forest Wildcat also won the six furlong Phoenix Breeders' Cup Stakes
in 1:09.57 at Keeneland.
a damsire, Forest Wildcat is represented by 46 stakes winners, mainly
sprinters, including the crack sprinter Evita Argentina, who beat the
boys in the San Vicente (G-2) and also won the La Brea (G-1), both at
seven furlongs. He's also the broodmare sire of the Grade 1 winning
sprinter Sean Avery. There are no absolutes in horse racing.
Although his daughters have bore two stakes winners at 1 1/8 miles
and 1 ¼ miles Forest Wildcat is noted for his speed and
bloodline cross of Malibu Moon with Forest Wildcat has produced six
foals, three starters/winners. Corfu is the only blacktype earner.
doesn't appear to have a great leg extension. His strides are short
but smooth with slightly high knee action. He drifted out slightly
to Wired Bryan in the closing stages of the Saratoga Special, but
chalk that up to being tired. Otherwise, he's a professional colt.
So far, Corfu hasn't shown – or needed to show – an ability to
rate off of the pace, such is his superior speed. This turn of foot
can ultimately be his downfall at longer distances. Unless he can
rein in the speed and set more reasonable fractions, Corfu may not
handle much past six or seven furlongs.
concern with natural speed and talent in such a young horse is
soundness. Her late start at the track and short career indicates
that Corfu's dam had soundness issues. Nonetheless, too fast too soon
has derailed many a promising career. Run Away and Hide, the
previous Saratoga Special record holder, made only three starts in
his career and retired after his graded stakes winning victory.
two Saratoga Special winners, Chief's Crown (1984) and Favorite Trick
(1997) have continued on to claim a Breeders' Cup Juvenile victory.
In 2005, Henny Hughes won the Special, but found the 1 1/6 miles of
the Breeders' Cup a little too far. He finished second to Stevie
Wonderboy. In 2007, Kodiak Kowboy won the Special, but floundered
over a very muddy track at Monmouth, placing a distant third to the
sensational two year old War Pass. Finally, in 2011, Union Rags
splashed his way to victory in a muddy Saratoga Special, only to fall
a nostril short to Hanson in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile, losing out
on Championship honors as well.
Todd Pletcher is contemplating the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at seven
furlongs as Corfu's next test.
of Fashion Wildcat courtesy of Candice Chavez.