Grade 1 winner Basin to prep twice for the Kentucky Derby

November 14, 2019 10:16am

Basin, Saratoga’s Hopeful Stakes (G1) winner, is back under tack with connections hoping to follow the path carved out by American Pharoah to the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Five years ago, American Pharoah missed the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile due to injury, then prepped twice for the Derby at Oaklawn Park, winning both the Rebel Stakes (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1).

“I don’t want to compare us to him, but Basin has a good foundation,” said Ryne Poncik, son-in-law of Terry Green, who campaigns horses under the Jackpot Farm banner. “He has the talent and the mind to get it done.”

Basin, who missed the end of his 2-year-old campaign due to irritation in a pastern, resumed light training this week with Steve Asmussen’s Fair Grounds string. Plans call for him to resurface March 14 in the Rebel at 1 1/16 miles before moving on to the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby on April 11. Both races are worth $1 million.

“Steve is going to take his time with him,” Poncik said, with neither Oaklawn’s Jan. 24 Smarty Jones nor Feb. 17 Southwest (G3) on Basin’s current agenda.

To continue the American Pharoah analogy, however, it's worth noting that Basin, a son of first-crop sire Liam's Map would make his two-turn debut in the Rebel. American Pharoah's third and final race as a juvenile was a victory at 1 1/16 miles.

Basin also ran three times at age 2. Going 5 1/2 furlongs on debut last June at Churchill Downs, he was nosed out by eventual graded winner By Your Side. Basin then topped impressive next-out maiden winner Three Technique going six furlongs at Saratoga.

In the Hopeful, Basin handled a sloppy track and led an Asmussen-trained trifecta when hitting the wire 6 1/2 lengths ahead of stablemates Shoplifted and Gozilla.

Since then, fellow 2-year-olds such as Dennis’ Moment, Eight Rings and Maxfield dazzled in Grade 1 company. But given Storm the Court’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile upset, none have so far assembled consistent form.

“We like where we’re sitting right now,” Poncik said, “and we’ll have a fresh horse for the 3-year-old campaign.”


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