Great brother-sister teams are not that easy to find in American racing. The gold standard has always been, and may forever be, the great pair of Dr. Fager and Ta Wee. The Hall of Fame duo had different sires but were both products of the Better Self mare, Aspidistra, and together struck fear into their overmatched foes in the late sixties into the early seventies. In no means do I mean to compare a recent pair of good looking grays to The Good Doctor and his fantastic little sister, but the mating of Tapit and Rhumb Line has produced quite a pair the last few years. A grade one winner, Zazu never had the chance to be great after a couple of injuries sent her to the breeding shed last spring. Before the health problems, she was a hard hitting filly that I believed to have a big chance to win the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic back in 2011. It never happened for Zazu, but now there is a new gun in town in her full brother, Flashback. After an impressive win this afternoon in the Robert B. Lewis, he finds himself firmly on the 2013 Kentucky Derby trail.
In truth, it’s hard to get too excited about a four-horse field, but the small group did possess some class and Flashback turned them away effortlessly. Making just his second lifetime start, Flashback became perhaps the West Coast’s top rated Derby hope in the time it took him to complete the 1 1/16 miles over Santa Anita’s main track. Taking control of the pace from the get-go, Flashback led the field on a merry chase, before kicking it in down the lane. A gentle let’s go from rider, Julien Leparoux, was all it took as the Bob Baffert trainee extended his advantage to hit the wire 6 ¼ lengths clear of second place finisher, Den’s Legacy. The winning time for the grade 2 stakes win was a respectable 1:42.95, over a fast track. The victory came as little surprise, as the Gary and Mary West owned youngster was highly regarded ever since a sharp 3 ½ length debut win going seven furlongs on Hollywood Park’s cushion track back on December 8. But the ease with which the talented son of Tapit dispatched of his opponents left many thinking big thoughts for the lightly raced colt, including his connections.
Giving the press the one-liner that we’ve grown to expect over the years, trainer Bob Baffert thanked the Wests for "putting this monster in my lap."
For those keeping score, winning the same prep that got last year’s eventual Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, I’ll Have Another, on track to begin 2012, Flashback earned 10 points towards qualification into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. But that is of little significance compared to the potential Zazu’s little brother has. The future would seem bright as all signs point to Louisville. The afternoon became even brighter for Bob Baffert and Gary and Mary West later in the card, when their four-year-old colt, Guilt Trip, also scored his first stakes win, with a strong score in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes.