New Year’s Day looms two weeks away, so it’s not too early to
start thinking about the road leading up to the $1 million Louisiana Derby on April 1.
That road is paved with the stepping stones of good intentions, and veteran Thoroughbred trainer
Bernie Flint might very well be rewarded for those intentions by deciding to bring his promising juvenile colt
Exfactor along slowly. After his promising stakes debut in last summer’s
Grade III Bashford Manor Stakes
at Churchill Downs on Fourth of July weekend, Exfactor went to the sidelines, not to return until Dec. 17 in the six-furlong
$60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds.
“The man that owns this horse (Jim Stone) has his own farm (Stoneway Farm in
Flint said on the morning
after Exfactor won the Sugar Bowl. “This colt had showed me some promise
since I got him, but he was a little on the small side, so after the
Bashford Manor I decided to turn him out for five
and a half months and let him grow up and be a horse.
used to be, you could give a horse all the time he needed to grow up,
but with the money they’re giving away these days, with the Breeders’
Cup and these other rich races, sometimes owners can’t afford to let
you do that.
“Fortunately, Mr. Stone let me take my time with this horse,”
said, “so hopefully now I have a nice horse for a winter campaign here
at Fair Grounds and I’ve given him the proper time to get him ready for
the classic distances that will be coming along
“I really was planning to run him long in his first race back after I got him down here,” said
“In fact, I came very close to not running him yesterday, but that race
came up just perfect for him yesterday and will save me a lot of work. I
think one race helps a lot more than a whole
bunch of works. Now, after yesterday, I don’t have to mess around with a
lot of works with this horse. He got those yesterday.”
didn’t have the easiest of races in the Sugar Bowl. After being allowed
to settle, Exfactor challenged for command at the furlong marker
and then out-dueled a very game Laurie’s Rocket,
owned by Willis Horton, by a nose in their hard drive to the wire.
However, Laurie’s Rocket’s previous trip to the post had come four weeks
earlier, not five and
a half months ago.
“That other horse is a very nice horse and ran a very big race,” said
Flint in post-race comments Saturday when speaking of Laurie’s Rocket, “and I have to take my hat off to him.”
will be under consideration now for Louisiana Derby Early Bird nominee
Exfactor, providing things continue to go well, will be the
Grade III Lecomte Stakes Jan. 21, the
Grade II Risen Star Stakes Feb. 25 and the 99th running of the
Grade II Louisiana Derby April 1, final day of Fair Grounds’ 2011-2012 season.