On This Trip, I will Stay Thirsty

Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 62

The family vacation slash, first ever visit to Tampa Bay Downs has begun. The long drive from Suburban Chicago to the Sunshine State went off without a hitch, and the family, including myself is full of smiles after leaving the five month winter of home to arrive to some beautiful 80 degree weather. I know, all of you still stuck in the North still are feeling truly happy for me. Most of our drive was yesterday (Gotham Day), and I found one exchange between my wife Candie and I, especially interesting. After a long stretch in the car, I told her I was thirsty. She offered up some of her bottled water, but after several hours out in the car, the water was on the warm side. I informed her that I do not do warm water. She replied with an answer that I clearly deserved … “Fine, stay thirsty.” Bazinga!

Not long after checking into our hotel in Georgia last night, I was on the laptop viewing a replay of the Gotham. I was not surprised with what I saw. Despite getting off a little slow and racing wide throughout, Stay Thirsty had more than enough in the stretch to pull away impressively from Norman Asbjornson to win by 3 ¼ lengths in decent time of 1:44.78 for the 1 1/16 miles at Aqueduct. Ridden by Ramon Dominguez, Stay Thirsty had to survive a claim of foul from the second place finisher, as he did drift briefly into his path, but the decision to leave the result as it finished, was a good one. Owned by Mike Repole and trained by Todd Pletcher, the Gotham win was the first start of the year for the son of Bernardini who had finished second in last summer’s Hopeful Stakes.

The win sets the good lucking colt up nicely for a run to the Kentucky Derby, but he will need to leave town before his next prep. Normally an impressive winner of the Gotham would move on to the Wood Memorial for his next engagement, but not this year. Not coming from the barn that he is coming from. Repole and Pletcher have Mo, and there is no way they are going to run Stay Thirsty against their real superstar, Uncle Mo, until they have to on the First Saturday in May.

[Uncle Mo is #1, Stay Thirsty is #21 on the HRN list of 2011 Kentucky Derby Contenders ... what do you think?]

Since his previous race last November, Stay Thirsty spent the winter working at the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida. Most of that work was completed in company with his more highly regarded stablemate. Reports from the training track all spoke of Stay Thirsty sticking with Uncle Mo, but the connections, including Repole, did not hide the fact that one of the two was doing it a little easier. And the colt who found the tandem working less taxing is not named Stay Thirsty.

It appears the Gotham thus taught us two things. First, Stay Thirsty is a legitimate Kentucky Derby threat. He figures to appreciate a distance, and should only get better with more racing. Anyone leaving him off of their list of top ten Derby prospects is probably making a mistake. Second, and possibly more importantly, we learned that expecting Uncle Mo to regress from his fantastic juvenile form is looking more and more like a fool’s folly. If Uncle Mo was simply toying with Stay Thirsty down in Florida, imagine what the rest of the sophomore division is in store for when Uncle Mo kicks off his second season six days from today. Good luck to them.  

Photo Courtesy of Adam Coglianese/NYRA

Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to HRN, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing webcast HorseCenter, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars and is a Vox Populi committee member. He is a voter for racing's Hall of Fame, as well as a weekly NTRA poll voter. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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