Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Thursday’s card will start off strongly when a well-bred group of
maiden colts goes postward in a seven-furlong contest. Nine juveniles
were entered for the first race, including a pair of first-time starters
from the Todd Pletcher barn. They are Coach Inge, a son of Big Brown
owned by Repole Stable that cost $150,000 earlier this year; and Whisper
Hill Farm’s Hollywood Idol, a $650,000 yearling by Smart Strike out of
millionaire Hollywood Story.
“He’s very well-bred,” Pletcher said of Hollywood Idol. “I think he
will probably benefit from longer distances down the road, but this is a
good starting point.”
The juveniles breezed in company last Saturday at Palm Meadows, where
they went a half-mile from the gate and were timed in 48 seconds flat.
“[Coach Inge] has been a little more forward and precocious,” Pletcher added.
Coach Inge will break from post three and will be ridden by Javier
Castellano. Hollywood Idol has the services of Joel Rosario and drew the
Also in the field is Darley homebred Empower, who boasts a series of
good works for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The chestnut colt is the
second foal from the talented Magnificience, who was purchased as a
broodmare prospect by for $1 million.
“He’s ready to run and he should run well, but we’re not great with
first-time starters,” McLaughlin cautioned. “He’s a big, leggy long
horse that wants to run all day, and I feel he’s going to take a race or
two to figure it all out. Our barn thinks he’s going to win, but our
second-time percentage is huge.
“He’s a two-turn horse for sure and we hope he’s a graded-stakes
horse,” McLaughlin added. “He’s like a grown-up, really tall teenager
that isn’t quite there yet. It’s a tough race. We do like him, but he’s
not a speedball.”
The morning-line favorite at 5-2 is trainer Eddie Kenneally’s
second-time starter H Town Brown, who completed the exacta under the
lights at Churchill Downs in his November 16 career debut. Owned by Jake
Ballis, the $145,000 yearling purchase is a half-brother to the
accomplished sprinter D’Funnybone. He will break from the rail under