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
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
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