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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
New Mexico

Daddy Nose Best Gets The Trip That Wins

Sometimes, it truly is better to be just plain lucky.

That was clearly the case Sunday at Sunland Park and Casino, where Daddy Nose Best took advantage of a wicked speed duel before rallying down the center of the track and winning the $800,000 Sunland Derby under jockey Julien Leparoux.

Daddy Nose Best, coming off a strong effort at Golden Gate Fields in his most recent start, has now won two races in a row and has clearly stamped himself as a leading contender for the May 5 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

The Kentucky-bred son of Scat Daddy, trained by Steve Asmussen and owned by Mary and Robert Zollars, increased his lifetime graded earnings to over $545,000, which places him in the top tier of starters for the Run For The Roses, in which runners are determined by graded stakes earnings.

Daddy Nose Best, sent off at odds of 3.60-to-1, took advantage of peculiar race-riding tactics by two of the race favorites. 

Castaway, the post-time favorite for trainer Bob Baffert under jockey Rafael Bejarano, and Ender Knievel, ridden by John Velasquez for trainer Todd Pletcher, stormed out to their own private duel, opening up as much as 6 lengths on the field down the backstretch, charging through opening fractions of 22.48 seconds for the first quarter mile and 46.24 seconds for the openbing half-mile.

The two runners were collared in approaching the far turn by Isn't He Clever, who was looking for his third straight win at Sunland Park for trainer Henry Dominguez.

Isn't He Clever got to the lead on the far turn, appeared to open up a sizable advantage at the head of the lane under Luis Contreras, but refused to switch leads when asked for more run down the stretch.

Daddy Nose Best, who found his best stride as the field turned for home, wore down Isn't He Clever inside the final sixteenth of a mile before prevailing by three-quarters of a length. Daddy Nose Best ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1 minute, 48.59 seconds, the second-fastest clocking of the Sunland Derby since it was run at this distance. 

Isn't He Clever was more than 7 lengths clear of Stirred Up, the third place finisher, also trained by Baffert. Ender Kneivel wound up finishing fifth, beaten 13 lengths by the winner, while favored Castaway retreated to seventh, beaten 25 lengths.

Though no Sunland Derby winner has gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, Daddy Nose Best may fit the profile. 

With still six weeks to go before the Derby, the race already appears to have a number of speed-type runners, with both Alpha and Hansen among those who have speed and will likely make for a lively pace at the distance of 1 1/4 miles in the Derby.

"He's already got the experience of having won twice at this distance," Asmussen said after the race. "He had to work hard to get past (Isn't He Clever), but the pace of the race helped out."

Two horses have used the Sunland Derby to a springboard to success in the Triple Crown series.

In 2009, Mine That Bird posted one of the biggest upsets in racing history when he parlayed his fourth-place finish in the Sunland Derby into a longshot score in the Kentucky Derby.

Last year's third place finisher in the Sunland Derby, Ruler On Ice came back and posted an upset score in the Belmont Stakes.

Will Daddy Nose Best be draped with roses on the first Saturday in May?

"We came here with the intention of finding out if he could do it," Asmussen reitrated after the race.

The answer was a resounding one indeed. 
Just prior to the Sunland Derby, trainer Bob Baffert made it two wins in a row in the Sunland Park Oaks, when Princess Arabella confirmed her status as the 1-to-5 post-time favorite with an easy victory under jockey Martin Garcia.

Princess Arabella, undefeated in three starts, raced on the front end throughout the 1 1/16 mile journey, dealt with some pressure down the backstretch, put away Glinda The Good, her stiffest challenge around the far turn after running 6 furlongs in 1 minute, 11.57 seconds before opening up late to a confident, 8-length win.

Baffert won this race last year with Plum Pretty, who parlayed that score with a win in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. Baffert also won this race in 2009 with Gabby's Golden Gal and in 2007 with Tough Tiz's Sis.

Princess Arabella, who clocked in with a final time of 1 minute, 43.52 seconds, will likely be headed to Churchill Downs, according to assistant trainer Jim Barnes.

"We're going to take it one race at a time," Barnes said. "That's a decision (Baffert) will make fairly soon."

The victory increases Princess Arabella's lifetime earnings to $268,400 for her owners, the Peachtree Stables. 


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Older Comments about Daddy Nose Best Gets The Trip That Wins...

Have been watching this horse since the El Camino, rly like him :))
As well as Fly Lexis Fly kicked, he is skipping derby day.
sorry for the name change daddy...what really needs to be changed are the many duds on DRF top 20 watch list...Alpha,Castaway,Sabercat,Howe Great...and many more.
100 Beyer speed figure for Daddu Nose Best in the Sunland Deby!!not sure what the future holds for this colt,but would not step into the ring with him if he were a boxer!!...as for the second place finisher,Isn't He Clever...he scored a 98-99 beyer,not too shabby either for a horse that was sent to the lead prematurely by jockey Contreras.
I am extremely impressed with Daddy Nose Best. He has proven his toughness and class with 2 straight stretch battles to the finish. I'll need to look more into him before I start putting him the class of Union Rags, Hansen, or Creative Cause, but right now, DNB looks to have as good a shot as anyone.
  • Curlin's Friend · He's The Real Deal! Can't wait for the beyer speed figure ...should be between 96-98 range..Not sure where he ranks,but he's a major player now...his momma,Follow Your Bliss is daughter of derby winner Thunder Gulch!!..that along with his running style seems to indicate he can make the classic distances. ML · 2035 days ago
It does not happen too often at this level of the game, but Bejarano blew the ride by not seeing that the early fractions were ridiculously fast
i think the princess is a fraud and will be exposed when she ships east for the kentucky oaks. cant wait to bet against her as i did castaway today.
DNB won this race in similar fashion to his victory in the El Camino Real Derby.
I think I have to agree with you there, Brian. Daddy Nose Best ran a good race, but the speed duel up front set it up for him. Princess Arabella was just in a class of her own today.
Anyone else thinking that Princess Arabella stole the show form the boys?

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I have had the pleasure of seeing the business of racing from several unique angles.

As a writer, I enjoy the time spent with horsemen, interviewing some of the most amazing people the sport has to offer.

As a radio talk show host, I get to hear the excitement of the jockey moments after winning a big race and the thunderous noise of a live crowd growing louder as the stretch run gets closer to completion.

As a paddock show host, I see the horses, not just as numbers and statistics on a sheet of paper, but as strong, incredible, vulnerable and energetic animals, capable of either being brilliant or chaotic as any animal at any given moment.

I have been covering the sport of horse racing for nearly 20 years, starting as a young, roving reporter in Southern California before moving to New Mexico in 2002.

I have had the extreme pleasure of watching the sport of kings thrive and succeed here in the Land of Enchantment.

In addition to the incredible quarter horse talent on display here on a daily basis, we’re also blessed to be the home state of record-setter Peppers Pride as well as one of the biggest longshot winners in Kentucky Derby history, Mine That Bird.

I’ll be here frequently offering reports and selections on races throughout the state of New Mexico, from Sunland to Zia, from Albuquerque to Ruidoso, and from my hometown track of SunRay Park and Casino, where I work as paddock show host when I am not doing my “other” job as a radio talk show host on FOX SPORTS AM1340.

Please feel free to let me know if you like or dislike what you see here. I firmly believe you learn something new every day in this sport, so if you have something to teach me, feel free to let me know.

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