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Are You Kidding Me Florida Derby Bound

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

Trainer Roger Attfield had entered Ron Kirk and partners’ Are You Kidding Me in the $150,000 Swale Stakes (G2) going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park on Mar. 2, only to scratch the colt who had finished a close-up fifth in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in his previous start.

Instead, Are You Kidding Me made his 3-year-old debut in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on turf at Tampa Bay Downs a week later on Mar. 9, finishing a strong second by a nose behind Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) runner-up Noble Tune in a good effort.

Are You Kidding Me is now scheduled to face the biggest test of his career in the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) on Sat., Mar. 30 with jockey Jose Lezcano booked to ride the Kentucky homebred son of Run Away and Hide in his first ever start on dirt.

“He’s run well on the Polytrack and turf, and trained well on dirt here all winter at Payson Park,” said Attfield Friday morning. “Of course you really don’t know how they’ll handle it until you try it. We’ve always thought he could be good enough to be thinking of him as a (Kentucky) Derby horse and this is where we’ll find out.
“He drew the far outside for the Swale (post 13) and we didn’t like that, so we went to Tampa and he got beat a nose on the turf. I was pleased with the race and he got what he needed from it for his next race. We considered the Louisiana Derby (G2), but I was concerned that he it might be over-subscribed and we might not get in. This way we don’t have to worry about shipping and we’ll find out where we are.”

Are You Kidding Me was developed last year at Woodbine in Canada, making his first five starts there, the first three on Polytrack, and breaking his maiden going six furlongs in his third start. He followed with an allowance victory on turf and a strong runner-up effort when beaten a half-length in the $250,000 Summer Stakes (G2) on ‘yielding’ turf. He completed his juvenile campaign with a good try in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland when beaten only 2 ½ lengths for it all by Joha.

Are You Kidding Me’s owner-breeder partnership team is led by Ron Kirk, who operates Ron Kirk Insurance LLC in Lexington, Ky., a horse insurance firm, along with Californians John Bates, Michael Riordan and others. Kirk and his partners also bred and raced the sire, Run Away and Hide, winner of all three of his career starts as a 2-year-old in 2008.

A son of City Zip trained by Ronny Werner, Run Away and Hide won his debut at Keeneland in April, the Kentucky Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs in May and the Saratoga Special (G2) at Saratoga in mid-August in his final career start. Run Away and Hide was retired to stand stud at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington and Are You Kidding Me is from his first crop.

 

 

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Older Comments about Are You Kidding Me Florida Derby Bound...

I remember his last race. I had him across the board, and a place bet on Noble tune. I was pulling for him (#6) but he just got beat by Noble Tune! I'm excited to see him, I loved his last run. Can he handle the dirt? If so, call me crazy, I think he is a legit contender to beat Bobby, Orb, etc in the FL Derby.

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