When Out of Bounds rallied down the Santa Anita lane to beat the heavily favored Secret Circle by a ½ length in the Sham Stakes, he instantly catapulted from maiden winner to a realistic contender for the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Trained by veteran conditioner, Eoin Harty, Out of Bounds was a bit of a surprise that day, paying $22.60 for the win, but don’t expect him to be shown any more disrespect as he travels down further Southern California’s Derby trail. Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Darley Stable, Out of Bounds used a similar stalking style, before running by the leaders late, to break his maiden in his second start at seven furlongs last December at Hollywood Park. His initial outing saw him finish 4th in a fast six furlong maiden back in October.
The Sham win was visually impressive, as he found another gear late, powering by his competition on a track that is not always an easy one on which to rally. The final time for the mile in 1:34.56 was solid, and while he has yet to run past a mile, his long stride and imposing presence give the impression that he will be able to carry his talent around two-turns. He will get that chance in his next start which is scheduled to be the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 10. With some of California’s division leaders performing in disappointing fashion in the recent Robert Lewis Stakes, Out of Bounds moves up the pecking order of West Coast three-year-olds.
Since his stakes win, Out of Bounds has had a steady series of works including a five furlong breeze yesterday at Hollywood Park. Harty is not rushing his new star, but figures to map out a similar path he used for 2008 Sham winner, Colonel John, who also won the Santa Anita Derby before running 6th in the Kentucky Derby, and winning the Travers later that summer. Called a gentle giant by his trainer, Out of Bounds has breeding that matches his early success.
His pedigree (Discreet Cat—Unbridled Elaine, by Unbridled’s Song) suggests brilliance, although it likely leaves the door open for questions of stamina. Discreet Cat was often spectacular in a career that saw him win his first six starts. An impressive winner in a two-year-old Saratoga maiden, he was sent to Dubai for the early part of his sophomore season, where he starred in the 1 1/8 mile UAE Derby over a field that included multiple champion, Invasor. Discreet Cat returned to the America later that year, and became a sensation at the one mile distance, with huge performances to win the Jerome and the Cigar Mile. Another trip to Dubai the next winter saw him run poorly in the 1 ¼ mile Dubai World Cup, before coming back to the U.S. without quite the same punch he had the year before. A son of Forestry, this is Discreet Cat’s first crop, so the jury is still out on their ability to run a distance, but with Out of Bounds and Discreet Dancer in his first crop, it appears he is passing on some of his brilliance.
Out Of Bounds’ dam, Unbridled Elaine, was also a topnotch runner. The winner of 6 of 11 lifetime starts before injuries to a pair of ankles forced her retirement. The gray mare was solid as a juvenile, but became a force at three. She won the Iowa Oaks and Monmouth Oaks, as well as, finishing a game second to champion colt Macho Uno in the Pennsylvania Derby. She culminated her excellent season by getting up to win the exciting 2001 edition of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, beating Spain by a head. Unbridled Elaine is a daughter of the brilliant Unbridled’s Song out of the stakes winning mare, Carols Folly. Besides Unbridled Elaine, Carols Folly also produced grade 1 winner and millionaire, Glitter Woman. So far in the breeding shed, Out of Bounds is the second graded stakes winner out of six foals of racing age for Unbridled Elaine. Her best runner to date has been multiple graded stake winner Etched. By Forestry, making him a ¾ brother to Out of Bounds, Etched was a talented runner who won counts the Nashua, Meadowlands Cup, and Monmouth Cup among his wins.
There is a long way to go between now and the first Saturday in May, especially for a horse who has only made three lifetime starts, but to this point, and considering his pedigree, looks, and most recent performance, there aren’t many horses out there that I would rather have in my stable than Out of Bounds if I wanted to win this year’s Kentucky Derby.