That is the question. The answer just may be “On the Derby Trail”. After Saturday’s victory in the $101,500 Marylander Stakes at Laurel Park, that’s exactly where Morris Bailey’s Whiskey Romeo might be heading. He’s now 3-for-3 lifetime and all three have been won in dominating fashion. It appears that only his pedigree may stop him from chasing a Derby dream.
It wasn’t the best of trips for the 2-year-old Forestry colt who badly bobbled at the start, spotting his five rivals a couple lengths just 20 yards out of the gate. For the first time in his career he had horses in front of him, but that didn’t last long as he quickly recovered and determinedly on his own rocketed to the lead.
Racing seven furlongs for the first time, one would have thought he did too much too soon to have enough left in the tank to be first under the wire, but Whiskey Romeo had plenty left in covering the distance in 1:25.10, holding off Amerigo Vespucci by 2-1/4 lengths. Their 1-2 finish was a duplication of Laurel Park’s James F. Lewis Stakes last month, where the top two also finished first and second, respectively.
“He was standing great at the gate. I think he just broke so sharp he just lost his foot, “said winning jockey Stewart Elliott. “I was really impressed the way he recovered and still took me to the lead without even trying. Once that happened, he was on his way. I had plenty of horse. He can run.”
“It’s pretty obvious he’s a talented colt,” said trainer Tony Dutrow. “He faced adversity today which was great because all of them are going to be exposed to that sooner or later but we are happy because he didn’t have any trouble going seven furlongs and we can go forward with his ability to get more than six furlongs.”
Before we get ahead of ourselves with lofty aspirations for this colt, his competition in the Marylander Stakes was far from being stiff. After all he was 1-1 Morning Line and went off 1-9 betting favorite. Therefore, Tony Dutrow may be content knowing he has a very good middle distance horse that is unless owner Morris Bailey gets a touch of Derby Fever in early 2013.