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Derby Radar

Kentucky Derby 2019 Radar: Mr. Money aims for Lecomte

Following a fourth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs, Mr. Money shipped to Fair Grounds for a small break before returning to the work tab. Trainer Bret Calhoun is now preparing the colt for his 3-year old debut on the 2019 Kentucky Derby trail. 

 

“We gave him a couple of weeks off in the barn, and then jogged him for a week. Just kind of got him back in a routine and giving him his first breeze back,” Calhoun said Tuesday by phone. “Everything’s going really well for him. We just gave him a little, short freshening and we’re pointing him toward the Lecomte at the Fair Grounds as his first race back.”

 

The Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes kicks off Fair Grounds’ Derby prep season Jan. 19. The 1-mile, 70-yard race is worth 10 points to the winner, with looking to add to his two points collected from the Breeders' Cup.


Calhoun said he is likely to continue on the Louisiana path with Mr. Money. Following the Lecomte, the Feb. 16 Risen Star (G2) is next on the schedule and the March 23 Louisiana Derby (G2) marks the final Fair Grounds prep.


Mr. Money, a $130,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase for Allied Racing Stable, LLC, had his first work back Nov. 28 at the New Orleans track. He recorded a half-mile breeze in 49.20.


Calhoun said the Goldencents colt has continued to develop, and it was the maturity he showed from his three prior starts that convinced the trainer to enter the him in the Breeders’ Cup. Mr. Money had only broken his maiden at Churchill Downs Sept. 28, but the fact he could run out of his own stall helped Calhoun make the decision.


“You know, it’s funny because we always were pretty high on this horse and we thought he would win right away,” Calhoun said. “He had some really unfortunate trips his first few races, which was bad at the time, but I think it ended up being a positive by the time the Breeders’ Cup came around. I normally wouldn’t have stuck a horse in that position had I not felt he had been pretty seasoned.”


Mr. Money made his debut July 21 at Ellis Park. He went three paths wide in the turn and chased the pacesetter home for second in the five-furlong event. It was another five lengths back to third. He raced at the Pea Patch again Sept. 2, going seven furlongs, and was bumped down the backstretch before turning five wide. He crossed the wire third, but was elevated to second when the stewards moved runner-up Proud Nation to ninth for interfering with Mr. Money early in the race. 


“He had learned more in those few races than a lot of them learn in twice that many,” Calhoun said. “He’d just been put in some bad positions and mainly he held it together and overcame them.”


With a clean trip stalking the pace at Churchill Downs, Mr. Money then pulled away to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight event by 3 ¾ lengths. He took a major step up to run fourth in the Breeders’ Cup with a bobble at the start, finishing behind likely champion Game Winner, Grade 1 winner Knicks Go and Signalman, who won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) in his next start.

 

“We like the way he’s progressed since he’s been freshened," Calhoun said of Mr. Money. "He’s continuing to grow up and fill out, and everything’s going in the right direction right now.”

 

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About the Derby Radar

New for the 2019 Kentucky Derby trail, Horse Racing Nation's Derby Radar seeks to identify promising maiden, allowance and even stakes winners who could target points-paying preps next out. We'll cover the buzz horses, of course, then using a systematic approach based on past years' Derby contenders identify other talented colts moving up the ladder.

Did we miss one? Email editor Jonathan Lintner (jlintner@horseracingnation.com) if you know of a horse that should be on the radar.


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