The week's fastest horses: One-time Triple Crown hopeful serves notice

The week's fastest horses: One-time Triple Crown hopeful serves notice
Photo: Dustin Orona Photography/Remington Park

One race after Sunday's featured Springboard Mile at Remington Park, 3-year-old colt Sleepy Eyes Todd stamped himself as one to follow in the new year when uncorking a 103 Brisnet Speed Rating in the Jeffrey A. Hawk Memorial Stakes.

The career-high figure from Sleepy Eyes Todd, who was briefly on the Triple Crown trail early this year, tied for the fastest of the week for a North American stakes winner. Pink Sands also registered a 103 when coming from dead last to earn her first graded stakes win in Saturday's one-mile Rampart Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

Owned by David Cobb of Arizona, Sleepy Eyes Todd entered the one-mile Hawk Memorial off a runner-up finish to Owendale in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) on Sept. 29. Sent off the 5-2 second choice on Sunday, Sleepy Eyes Todd settled in mid-pack down the backstretch under Rye Eikelberry and then steadily ranged up to challenge the leaders on the turn. Sleepy Eyes Todd seized the lead when completing six furlongs in 1:11.48 and then gamely battled through the stretch to hold off longshot Chris and Dave by a half length.

Trainer Miguel Silva noted with the win that Sleepy Eyes Todd knocked off a pair of millionaires in Looking at Lee (third) and Shotgun Kowboy (fifth) with the win. It’s the kind of breakout performance the connections had been waiting for from the son of Paddy O’Prado.

“We really thought he was going to be a Triple Crown horse, but that didn’t work out,” Silva said. 

Sleepy Eyes Todd won on debut at Remington Park in October 2018 and was promptly sent south to Oaklawn Park for the Kentucky Derby trail. Trying the Smarty Jones next, Sleepy Eyes Todd was a decent fifth, beaten 2 ½-lengths at 54-1.

From there, the $9,000 auction bargain next appeared in an allowance optional claimer before heading to the sidelines for a break. Upon his return in July, Sleepy Eyes Todd won back-to-back optional claiming races at Canterbury Park before his second in the Oklahoma Derby.  

“He’s a real pro,” said Eikelberry. “[The Hawk] was the first time I’d been on him, but I was always impressed whenever I saw him race.”

Sleepy Eyes Todd, who now has posted 100-plus speed ratings in three straight starts, boasts a record of 7: 4-0-1 with earnings of $204,065.

Pink Sands, more costly at auction as a $625,000 as a weanling at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, is owned by Gainesway Farm and Andrew Rosen. She launched from last-to-first under Jose Ortiz while making up some five lengths in the final furlong to win the one-mile Rampart. It was the first triple-digit Brisnet Speed Rating for 4-year-old Pink Sands, whose only previous stakes win came in the Lady’s Secret at Monmouth Park on June 22. 

"We had this [race] on our mind...and it worked out well,” said trainer Shug McGaughey said. “She likes it here, it was a mile and [we were] trying to win a graded-stake with her.”

Pink Sands Gulfstream Rampart 103 
Sleepy Eyes Todd Remington Jeffrey A. Hawk 103 
Minit to Stardom Fair Grounds Star Guitar 102
War Story Gulfstream Harlan's Holiday 101 
LaughingsaintssongFair Grounds Songandaprayer 100 
Pumpkin Rumble Woodbine Valedictory100 
Instilled RegardGulfstream Fort Lauderdale 97 
Lady's Island Gulfstream Sugar Swirl 96 
Pound for Pound Fair Grounds La. Champions Day Classic 94
Shoplifted Remington Springboard Mile 93 

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