Courtlandt Farm’s promising sophomore colt Machen,
away from the gate sluggishly and forced to check going into
the first turn, recovered by splitting the field in upper stretch,
angled out when clear but then drew off with authority for a five-length
score under a patient ride by jockey
Jamie Theriot Sunday in Fair Grounds’ $49,000 allowance optional claiming feature.
One of a handful of promising 3-year-olds trained by
Neil Howard, Machen
remains a colt with Louisiana Derby potential but one who also showed
the inexperience to be expected from a young horse making only the
second start in his undefeated two-race career.
was only his second start and, it’s funny, he’s got a great demeanor,
but these 3-year-olds, they’re still kind of young and they’re looking
around,” Howard said. “They’re not completely smooth yet. I think all
of that will subside away.”
was blocked behind horses approaching the quarter-pole, giving his
connections a few anxious moments before Theriot found running room.
looked like he was sitting on horse,” Howard said. “He was just kind of
sitting there, perched up. It looked like he had plenty of horse
under him and then when that hole opened up he accelerated beautifully.
You couldn’t not be happy with what you saw there.”
son of Distorted Humor out of the multiple graded stakes-winning More
Than Ready mare Ready’s Gal – easily the public’s choice – paid $2.10,
$2.10 and $2.10 while increasing his career earnings to $51,600 and
touring the mile and 70-yard distance in 1:40.63.
Pin Oak Stud’s
Don Dulce, unhurried early, rallied to be clearly second best, finishing a length and a half to the good of Ace Thoroughbreds’
Lusterdust. Don Dulce returned $2.40 and $2.10 and Lusterdust paid $2.80.
Tapilu and Lothenbach Stables’ Crown of Aragorn alternated for the early lead with splits of 25.58 and 50.68 before tiring.
indicated that the Feb. 19 Grade II Risen Star Stakes is a possibility
for Machen’s next start, but the trainer has two other New Orleans-based
3-year-old stakes prospects to consider in Prime Cut (also owned by the Courtlandt Farm stable of Texas banker Don Adam) and Grade III Lecomte Stakes winner