Three Technique eyes 'bigger prize' on Kentucky Derby trail

January 25, 2020 11:08am

Given Gold Street’s 2-for-2 record over off tracks into Friday’s Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park, trainer Steve Asmussen said he “was surprised they let him get such an easy lead.” The Street Boss colt went straight to the front and paced them from wire to wire in a 2020 Kentucky Derby prep that left losing connections hopeful for next time.

That list starts with Three Technique, bet down from 9-2 on the morning line to 2-1 co-favoritism at post time. From the outside gate in a field of nine, he chased wide the entire way, ranging up from fourth entering the turn to finish second by 2 3/4 lengths over Gold Street’s preferred muddy conditions.

“I was happy with that,” said trainer Jeremiah Englehart. “You always want to win. But for me, jumping up into stakes-caliber horses, I was actually really happy with what he showed. Being on the outside, it was a little bit of a disadvantage for us.”

Three Technique, a son of Mr Speaker campaigned by Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm, lost ground as Gold Street was allowed to click through the opening half mile in 48.96 seconds. The winner came off the far turn 2 1/2 lengths in front, then rolled to the first finish line in a short stretch configuration for the mile at Oaklawn.

“He'll learn from this one,” said jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. “The track, he probably wasn't really loving it today because the speed was holding. He was going comfortably. Short stretch, different wire. He did good. I think he’ll be all right for the next one.”

Three Technique is perhaps the biggest name now in Englehart’s Oaklawn-based string, which represents the first time he has a group of horses wintering in Hot Springs, Ark. Longer distances on Oaklawn’s Derby trail should suit Three Technique in the Feb. 17 Southwest Stakes (G3), March 14 Rebel Stakes (G2) and April 11 Arkansas Derby (G1).

Purchased for $180,000 as a yearling, Three Technique took three starts to break his maiden, finishing behind the eventual Hopeful Stakes (G1) hero Basin at Saratoga a race before he uncorked a visually impressive rally to win Aug. 31 at the Spa. Back on Nov. 20, he rolled to an allowance victory at Aqueduct, with the Smarty Jones his first try around two turns.

“I think it was a step in the right direction for the bigger prize down the road,” Englehart said.

The trainer has another 3-year-old to watch in Villainous, a $100,000 yearling campaigned by Harold Lerner who broke his maiden on Friday’s undercard. The Wicked Strong colt ran just off the pace in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight flight before shifting into the lead near the top of the stretch. He drifted out, lugged back in and held on for a 1 1/4-length score that could have connections looking for allowance or stakes options.


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