Two promising sophomores posted resounding maiden wins on Saturday with implications for the Kentucky Derby (G1) picture. After Prevalence made a stunning debut on the Pegasus World Cup undercard at Gulfstream Park, The Great One ran up the score by 14 lengths at Santa Anita.
Prevalence – Gulfstream’s 6TH Race
Godolphin’s homebred Prevalence was pegged at 12-1 on the morning line, partly because the 7-furlong maiden was loaded with prospects, including Justify’s half-brother Stage Raider. But it was also possibly on account of trainer Brendan Walsh’s strike rate of 7% with first-time starters. Prevalence had been working well at Palm Meadows, however, and enough bettors picked up on the hint to send him off at 7-1. The blueblood son of Medaglia d’Oro made that look an absolute gift.
Part of the early pace scrum as the 19-1 Rabdan had a narrow lead through a quarter in :22.66, Prevalence was traveling well within himself on the rail. He struck the front before reaching the half in :46.09, and Stage Raider went with him as Rabdan beat a retreat. But Stage Raider couldn’t stay with Prevalence for long.
Still on the bridle for Tyler Gaffalione, Prevalence began to get away from an urged-along Stage Raider on the far turn. The winner rapidly opened up in the stretch, clocking 6 furlongs in 1:10.45 under a hand ride, and remained under wraps through the final furlong. Prevalence dominated by an imperious 8 1/2 lengths in 1:23, ears pricked.
Stage Raider held second by a half-length from Ghazaaly, who turned in an eye-catching rally after dropping far back. Full Court Press reported home a further 6 3/4 lengths back in fourth, rounding out the superfecta of first-time starters. Holy Redeemer, the slight favorite from Stage Raider at 3.70-1, fared best of those with experience when fifth in the 12-horse field.
“I thought he was a nice colt,” Walsh told Gulfstream publicity. “He put in some nice work, but of course, you’re always looking for confirmation. Thankfully, we got it. It was a lovely experience, which is great for a young 3-year-old first time out.”
Off that kind of debut, Prevalence has run himself into the Derby picture. The bay bolsters Godolphin’s 2021 hopes, led by presumptive champion Essential Quality and including recent Lecomte (G3) runner-up Proxy.
Kentucky-bred Prevalence is a half-brother to Estihdaaf, hero of the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) in 2019, and to New York-bred stakes scorer Libreta. Their dam, the Ghostzapper mare Enrichment, is a full sister to multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Better Lucky and stakes victor Final Frontier. Those three were all out of Grade 2 queen Sahara Gold, a daughter of Seeking the Gold and 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) star Desert Stormer.
The Great One – Santa Anita’s 2ND Race
The Great One is already on the Kentucky Derby trail, having missed by a nose to Spielberg in the Dec. 19 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2). The Doug O’Neill trainee hadn’t cracked the trifecta in his first three starts in maidens, but showed just how much he’d improved when reverting to that company here.
Yet The Great One ranked as the 8-5 second choice in the four-horse field. The 11-10 favorite was Bob Baffert’s Fenway, but he would ultimately strike out in this first at-bat.
Fenway scampered to the early lead through splits of :22.91 and :45.76, tracked by The Great One who took closer order on the far turn of the mile maiden. Just as The Great One increased the pressure, with Affable getting involved on the outside, Fenway abruptly gave way.
Under Abel Cedillo, The Great One found himself clear at the 6-furlong mark in 1:10.67, but attacked the homestretch as though he still had competition. Drawing off by six lengths, he padded it to 14 lengths at the wire in 1:37.28.
Affable, who had also placed second to Baffert’s Savile Row and O’Neill’s Wipe the Slate in his prior starts, was himself 11 1/2 lengths clear of debuter There Goes Harvard. Fenway came home last of the quartet.
A well-named son of O’Neill’s 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, The Great One races for the Colorado Avalanche’s Erik Johnson (ERJ Racing), Train Wreck Al Racing Stables, Niall Brennan, Tom Fritz, and William Strauss. The $125,000 OBS October yearling RNA’d for $190,000 at the same venue last July.
“I always loved Nyquist, and this colt caught my eye when he first came in,” assistant trainer Leandro Mora told Santa Anita publicity. “He was very, very green, but we told the owners, ‘Please let us take our time with him,’ and we have. We knew the ability was there.”
Cedillo praised The Great One’s breakout performance.
“When we made the lead at the top of the stretch, that was pretty amazing,” his regular rider said. “This horse has gears. Anytime you want one, you got it. The way he won today, he’s a top horse, no doubt about it.”
Team O’Neill now has to map out a plan for The Great One, ideally apart from stablemates Hot Rod Charlie and Wipe the Slate who are set for Saturday’s Robert B. Lewis (G3).
“We have two horses for the Robert Lewis next Saturday,” Mora said, “but I know Doug wants to try and keep these horses separated as long as we can. This colt is Louisiana-bred, so we have some options. We’ll just see how he comes out of this race and then plan ahead.”
Bred by Coteau Grove Farms in the Pelican State, The Great One is out of seven-time stakes winner and Grade 3-placed Little Ms Protocol by El Corredor. This is the extended family of Vision and Verse, the 1999 Illinois Derby (G2) victor and runner-up in the Belmont (G1) and Travers (G1), as well as 2020 Blue Grass (G2) hero and Preakness (G1) fourth Art Collector.