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Fact or Myth: Can Talented 2's Become Terrific 3's?

Over the past few years one of the biggest angles a horseplayer uses in order to figure what horse could become a potential Derby horse, or even a top three-year-old, is to discount any obvious two year old stars. Is this angle legit or is it a myth? Well, after some research, I have good reason to believe that that stipulation is very misleading.
 
While there is a valid reason to discount the two-year-old champions, the angle to ignore every talented juvenile would seem to be unfounded. Hansen, this year’s Juvenile Champion is often discounted because of the pure speed he was able to dominate his competition with during 2011. That is understandable, if he is to progress and be effective over longer distances he needs to learn to harness that speed. However, the concerns over Union Rags have me slightly baffled.

Union Rags is not your stereotypical juvenile. Yes, he is very talented, extremely talented, but he was not some speed crazed colt who won only off of his superior speed. Union Rags talent is more than just speed, it is his build, his stride, his mind, and ability to be place anywhere in the pack and still win. Add in his unbelievable raw ability and you have a very serious and dangerous colt. Yet, even with this knowledge, many fans still say that his chances of progressing onward to becoming a top three-year old are slim.
 
I have some new for those doubters that may have gone unnoticed, during the past decade there were quite a few juveniles who demonstrated talent at age two and carried that talent into age three. 2000-2001 saw Point Given a graded stakes winner at two, and a classic winner and champion at three. Funny Cide won two stakes as a two year old and was an extremely impressive maiden winner. He went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Smarty Jones and unbeaten and extremely impressive at two nearly took the 2004 Triple Crown , winning the Derby and Preakness while remaining unbeaten. Must we forget Afleet Alex? Winner of the Hopeful and Sanford Stakes at two continuing on at three to win the Preakness and Belmont. Barbaro might have been a turf horse, but there was still quite the buzz about him when he was a juvenile. Street Sense a juvenile Champion won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile before winning the Derby, Jim Dandy, and Travers at three. Lookin at Lucky nearly went unbeaten as a juvenile winning multiple graded stakes went on to win the Rebel, Preakness, and Haskell Invitational, becoming the 2010 Champion Three-Year old.
 
There you have it, a plethora of examples that disprove the notion that a talented juvenile cannot carry that talent over into their sophomore season. The key is not the talent level vs. age, it is the mind that a young horse possesses. War Pass is a perfect example of a speed crazed juvenile who refused to relax and therefore was unable to improve from age two to three. Street Sense, Lookin at Lucky, Point Given, Afleet Alex, and Barbaro were all extremely talented horse at two, but had great minds that allowed them to relax and race professionally. That professionalism was what allowed them to dominate at two and keep improving at three.
 
Union Rags has that mind, and what makes him even more dangerous is his ability to come from anywhere. He can run his foes into the ground or close on them like a runaway freight train. Make no doubt, despite his drifting issues, he is still an extremely talented and professional colt. Some may say the drifting is him showing vulnerability going longer distances, I say it is him simply getting bored and looking around. He was not tired in the Juvenile or Saratoga Special, but in both instances when he began to drift, there were no other horses close enough to grab his attention. In the Juvenile when he got closer to Hansen and felt the other colt he dug back in and focused. During the Champagne he was boxed and walled in before he found a way out. He may have blown the race open, but he had many targets before that time.
 
Do not let yourselves be fooled into turning away from this colt by a stipulation. Do not discount him before he has even begun, especially when history proves that colts similar to him have had much success in their three-year old campaigns. This one may already be well know, but he still has a tremendous upside. Do not let the myth influence your decisions. Let the facts educate you and the horses show you.

 

What the Nation is saying about Fact or Myth: Can Talented 2's Become Terrific 3's?...

all at 120 or above in their Experimental Free Weight year and nada: High Counsel, Fairway Phantom, lets Don't Fight, Cast Party, Overtrump, OK By You, Pillaster, Hilco Scamper, Bio, Trapp Mountain, Tagel, Fast Ply etc etc
You missed Afleet Alex Street Sense but these again were exeptions while Success Express, and a myriad of Darrel Waynes' never did a thing at three
I can name dozens and dozens who were not after their birthday. Exceptions are often remembered
the way a young horse apportions their speed over a distance dictates which can step beyond 9 frulongs and who will never break through that distance barrier. Some require just a bit more maturity: Holy Bull and Chief's Crown could not get 10 frulongs in May but could in August....matruation is obvious in most of them and it shows INDIVIDUALLY
Lookin at Lucky, Barbaro, Point Given, all within the last decade and all were on the radar as 2yr olds Travel vic.
the way a young horse apportions their speed over a distance dictates which can step beyond 9 frulongs and who will never break through that distance barrier. Some require just a bit more maturity: Holy Bull and Chief's Crown could not get 10 frulongs in May but could in August....matruation is obvious in most of them and it shows INDIVIDUALLY
travel_vic, Fusaichi Pegasus was on the radar at one - he was hyped as a Derby horse the minute he sold for $4 million at Keeneland!
I am a fan of NO colt at this early date and will not jump on any of their band wagons until I see how they withstand the challleges of a decent pace AT NINE FURLONGS and not a second before.
Your quite obviously a Union Rags fan, and many 2s become good 4s and 5s if they are allowed to race that long, but I do agree.
I seem to reacall that Fusiaichi Pegasus and Curlin were not on the radar at two
Many leaders a three were not even on the radar at two: Giacomo. and many many others like War Emblem, and others
One can rarely predict which path any specific two year old will take in that transition form two to three....Only a few have sugggested a smooth transition of late a la Street Sense
One can rarely predict which path any specific two year old will take in that transition form two to three....Only a few have sugggested a smooth transition of late a la Street Sense
Some horses develop many do not. Some horses mature rapdily and max out at two others continue to develop...Simple as that: INDIVIDUALS grow and mature as INDIVIDUALS with no set rules
OR EVEN TOP THREE YEAR OLD. Travel vic, you can't just take your side.
Travel, the blog is about 2yr olds becoming successful 3yr olds, not spring horses, derby trail or anything. You've changed your original statement so much you can't even remember where this all actually started at. I said top 2yr olds can become top 3yr olds, that the notion that they can't is a myth. In every single comment you've tried to prove me wrong you have proven me right.
I suppose POTENTIAL DERBY HORSE, right in the above entry is not relevant?
about 10 out of the last 20 were on top
Travel, the blog is about 2yr olds becoming successful 3yr olds, not spring horses, derby trail or anything. You've changed your original statement so much you can't even remember where this all actually started at. I said top 2yr olds can become top 3yr olds, that the notion that they can't is a myth. In every single comment you've tried to prove me wrong you have proven me right.
travel_vic, how many Derby winners have you correctly picked over the past 20 years? You seem to be very good at narrowing down the fields. What is your record?

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