Mr. Money 'pretty awesome' in Pennsylvania Derby work

September 05, 2019 02:52pm
Mr. Money 'pretty awesome' in Pennsylvania Derby work
Photo: Coady Photography

Mr. Money will have to answer a question of class when he competes Sept. 21 in Parx Racing’s Pennsylvania Derby (G1), with each victory in his four-race streak thus far at the Grade 3 level.

And he’ll have to reaffirm a liking for the distance, with an Aug. 3 score in the West Virginia Derby representing the first time the colt won going as far as 1 1/8 miles.

But ace clocker Bruno De Julio won’t worry about fitness for the Bret Calhoun trainee, not after witnessing Mr. Money’s five-furlong breeze Thursday morning at Churchill Downs. The son of Goldencents worked before sunrise, clocking in at 58 1/5 after going the final furlong in 11 seconds flat. The gallop out went six furlongs in 1:10 3/5 and seven in 1:25 3/5 on De Julio's watch.

“That’s a pretty awesome work,” said De Julio, who offers a workout database and handicapping sheets through his website,
brunowiththeworks.com. “I thought the track was a little bit quicker this morning, but it was a really good track. It wasn’t loose. It wasn’t tiring. It wasn’t cuppy. It was a good track that horses gold a hold of, and when horses get ahold of a track, they can roll.

“That’s what he did, and it makes for a really interesting Pennsylvania Derby.”

Mr. Money remained on target for a meeting with Maximum Security, off since winning the July 20 Haskell (G1), while trainer Bob Baffert is weighing sending Improbable or Mucho Gusto in from California. Well-known 3-year-olds such as War of Will, Spinoff and Tax may also converge in the $1 million race.

“If Maximum Security shows up and he is who he is,” De Julio said, “it’s going to be very hard to beat him.”

Mr. Money will be among the runners getting their first shot at the multiple Grade 1 winner, who was also first past the wire in the Kentucky Derby before a historic disqualification. Earlier that day, Mr. Money won the Pat Day Mile (G3) by a widening 5 1/4 lengths to begin his roll.

The colt followed with a facile victory in Churchill’s Matt Win (G3), then took his track with him to win the Indiana Derby (G3) and West Virginia Derby, which pushed Mr. Money past $1 million in earnings.

Now it’s time for the Churchill Downs-based runner to take a shot over a surface De Julio doesn’t expect will be far different than home.

“That track can be rather deep and sandy and tiring depending on the weather,” he said of Parx. “I think it’s one of those tracks where they can’t keep enough water on it. He’s fit, and if he’s used to working fast at Churchill that can also be loose, sandy and fast, I don’t see that being an issue.

“Class level might be an issue. He might be really good, but is he a Grade 1 animal? And I think for him, the way he’s bred, I think he’s more of a Breeders’ Cup Mile type of horse. Goldencents was like that, too. He was freaky fast at a mile, mile and a sixteenth.

“Bret has to make that decision as he goes along.”

Mr. Money’s connections will have a number of considerations following the Pennsylvania Derby, including passing on the Breeders’ Cup altogether. Chester Thomas, who campaigns horses under the Allied Racing banner, has said he doesn’t want to run his horses at Santa Anita Park after well-documented series of breakdowns at the track’s last meet.

More recently, Calhoun didn’t completely close the door on the championships. 
Mr. Money could also take a break before pointing to races like the Pegasus World Cup, the new $20 million Saudi Cup and the Dubai World Cup (G1) in the spring.

Before that, though, his toughest career test looms in the Pennsylvania Derby.

“He’s doing fantastic,” De Julio said. “But I will throw a little bit of a caution out there that he is a very fast work horse. He doesn’t have a shutoff button. He goes out there and does what he does. He lays his body down every single time.

"I think Bret’s tried to get him to relax, but that’s just who he is. 
And (By My Standards), the horse he had in the Kentucky Derby, was the same way. This horse rolls. You look at his works and they’re all fast.”

2019 Pennsylvania Derby (G1)

 

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