Barn Tour: DeVaux has her 1st horse on Kentucky Derby trail

Barn Tour: DeVaux has her 1st horse on Kentucky Derby trail
Photo: Ben Breland / Eclipse Sportswire - Edited

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Cherie DeVaux’s training career has ramped up quickly. She went out on her own in 2018 after working as an assistant to Chad Brown, and her barn had more than $2 million in earnings each of the last two years.

This year, she got her first win at Oaklawn with Shotgun Hottie, and she has her first horse on the Kentucky Derby trail, Cagliostro, who is entered in Saturday’s Grade 2 Louisiana Derby.

The son of Upstart has had three starts, breaking his maiden on second try in January and then finishing second by a neck in an optional-claiming allowance race last month.

“He's shown a lot of promise and ability since he's come in to us,” DeVaux told Horse Racing Nation Monday as she was driving to Kentucky from Florida. “And he's developed the way you would hope one to develop as a big, two-turn dirt colt at this time of year. He's lightly raced, he just had a couple little hiccups, so he's still a little bit immature mentally. But each race he's improved leaps and bounds.”

Derby trail aside, “I always try to manage my expectations where I'm OK with any outcome,” DeVaux said, “because I think going forward, he's going to be fine. But like I said, he's lightly raced, shows a lot of promise, but he's definitely got a lot of maturing to do mentally to handle it. So we'll just have to see.”

DeVaux, who finished third in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with Tarabi, has seen her stable increase to about 70 or 80 horses, with about 65 in training.

The growth has “exceeded my expectations at this point,” DeVaux said. “We're just finishing up our fifth year as a stable. I started my career with fillies because I have a lot of clients that see the residual value in buying fillies more than colts. In colts, there's more risk and more reward if they get there. But the chances of having a horse of that caliber for residual value, having fillies far outweighs having a colt. So last year was the first time we could get the money to get a partnership together to buy colts.

“Now this year as 2-year-olds, we have significantly more chances,” she said. “We have a lot more 2-year-olds. We have the half to Confidence Game, the Eblouissante who's by More than Ready. There's a nice Curlin and there's a Medaglia colt in the group. So you have to put your work in and do time and then hopefully after a couple of years you can get the clients to have the comfort level with putting the money in for colts. That gives you a chance to be in the big races.”

DeVaux provided an update on other horses in her stable for the latest in HRN’s Barn Tour series.

Shotgun Hottie. This 4-year-old Gun Runner filly gave DeVaux her first Oaklawn win in a March 12 optional-claiming allowance, winning the 1 1/16-mile race by 1 1/2 lengths. It was her first win in more than a year, though she had two seconds and a third in Grade 3 last year. “Shotgun Hottie came out of that in good order, and we're likely to point her to the Doubledogdare (G3) at Keeneland” on April 21, DeVaux said.

Tarabi. The 4-year-old daughter of First Samurai has been working toward her first start since September, when she was second to Echo Zulu in the Dogwood (G3), sustaining an injury in the races. “Tarabi is doing well,” DeVaux said. “We'll likely point her to an allowance race at Keeneland.”

Gam’s Mission. This 5-year-old daughter of Noble Mission took a break because of “a minor setback” after winning the Mint Julep (G1) in July. She returned March 11 and finished sixth in the Hillsborough (G2). “Gam’s Mission came out of her race in good order. She always seems to need a race off a layoff. She just shipped off to Keeneland yesterday, and I don't have a plan set in stone right now for her. We just get her back training and then go from there.”

Blissful. The 4-year-old Empire Maker filly won her 2021 debut then was 0-for-4 last year before winning a Fair Grounds allowance last month. “Blissful came out of her race in good order at Fair Grounds. She's been frustrating because she shows a lot of ability and it's taken a while for her to really put it together. She was breaking poorly. She just wasn't really showing as much in the afternoon as she showed in the morning. Finally got a chance to do that last time out, so we'll just not really rush things with her and put her back in an allowance race at Keeneland.”

Love and Money. After finishing second in two optional-claiming allowances at Gulfstream, the 5-year-old daughter of More than Ready won her last one by a neck. “Love and Money came out of her race in good order. She's up in Kentucky, and we're just discussing where to point her. Every race she runs, she really puts it all out there, so we have to space her accordingly. So we would like to try to get a stakes placing on her, black type, but we're just going to see when she breezes back In the next couple of weeks how she's doing.”

Beatbox. After an eight-month break, the 5-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile was seventh in a black-type stakes at Turfway Park, won an optional-claiming allowance and was third last out in the black-type Dust Commander Stakes. “Beatbox is doing really well. And the ownership group, we've discussed about wanting to put him back on the turf. It seems like a mile, a mile and 16th is his preferred distance. A mile and an eighth might be a bit too far for him. So there is an allowance race that he is eligible for on opening day at Keeneland on the turf, and we'll put him in that. And that will just open up a lot more opportunities for him if he does take to the turf and runs as well as he does on the Tapeta.” Beatbox has raced once on turf, breaking his maiden at Meadowlands in 2021.

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