Extraordinary ready for stakes debut in Indiana Derby

Extraordinary ready for stakes debut in Indiana Derby
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Trainer Rodolphe Brisset’s first words when asked about his Indiana Derby contender Extraordinary: “I love the horse.”

Extraordinary makes his stakes debut in the $300,000, Grade 3 Indiana Derby at 1 1/8 miles Wednesday. The son of sprint champion Speightstown certainly was intended as a top horse, selling as a yearling for $750,000, with WinStar Farm and China Horse Club teaming with breeder Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings to race the horse.

Extraordinary is 10-1 in the morning line, but Brisset thinks the chestnut colt will be more like 6-1. That’s because of all the trouble he got into in his last start, a late-running fourth out of 12 in a Churchill Downs allowance race. The winner, Man in the Can, is running in Keeneland’s Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass, second-place Dean Martini won the Ohio Derby and third-place Earner also is in the Indiana Derby.

“If you look at the replay the other day, he got in a lot of trouble,” the Keeneland-based Brisset said. “He broke sideways. I have no idea why. It was the kind of race, if you’re not right up there, you’re getting shuffled back. I think we’d have been up there with the winner to fight for the win. He only got beat (3 3/4) lengths and galloped out in front of everybody. The move he made from the three-eighths pole to the quarter pole, I thought it was very impressive.”

Extraordinary hurt his closing bid by running greenly through the stretch. “I don’t like to make an excuse,” Brisset said. “I think we got tougher from that race. That’s why we decided to go in there. Based on what we saw, we think we’ve got a shot.”

Extraordinary never began racing until Feb. 8. “We’ve been pointing to July, August and September,” Brisset said.

Does that include Sept. 5 - as in the rescheduled Kentucky Derby?

“We’re giving him the opportunity to bring us there,” he said. “It’s just a matter if he’s good enough. It’s a different year. Obviously, you don’t want to peak too early. The horse was very late, didn’t race as a 2-year-old. He won on talent, but it took him a couple of races to figure things out. You can feel he’s doing just the minimum in the mornings.”

Brisset added blinkers for Extraordinary’s last race and is satisfied with the result. The colt still doesn’t work fast, the trainer said, “but it’s the way he’s doing it… He’s showing us the right signs: That he’s a two-turn horse, a dirt horse.”

WinStar Farm and China Horse Club know well that not every horse can even come close to being a Justify, their unbeaten 2018 Triple Crown winner (whom Brisset trained before the unraced 2-year-old was sent to Bob Baffert). Indeed, they have a Plan B, with Extraordinary entered in Monday’s Fasig-Tipton sale of horses of racing age in Lexington.

“For the right price, they’ll let the horse go,” Brisset said. “If he runs 1-2-3, I’m sure we’ll get together and we’ll talk. It’s a long way before he gets sold.”

Brisset also entered Aurelia Garland in the Indiana Oaks but said she will scratch after finishing second in Sunday’s Iowa Oaks.

Live racing continues through Wednesday, Nov. 18. Action is held Monday through Thursday beginning at 2:20 p.m. Post times for the all-Quarter Horse programs is to be determined.

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