As things stand through the first week in March, the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 1 is shaping up to be a top-heavy race. Life Is Good is the class of the California-based colts, and perhaps of the crop, while juvenile champion Essential Quality and Greatest Honour are the leaders in their respective regions of the Midwest and Florida.
The late-developing Prevalence, who wowed Gulfstream Park viewers in late January with a dazzling debut performance, has work to do to catch up to those three, but will be taking that next important step on Thursday when he’ll be heavily favored to beat five rivals in a one-mile allowance at Gulfstream, which carries a purse of $52,000.
Like Essential Quality a Godolphin homebred, Prevalence powered to an 8 1/2-length maiden win on Jan. 23 under Tyler Gaffalione, covering seven furlong is 1:23 and earning a 94 Brisnet Speed rating. A mild surprise winner in that contest at odds of 7.8-1, Prevalence was pegged at 4-5 for Thursday’s race bit will probably start at an even shorter price.
“I thought he was a good horse before he ran, but did I expect him to do what he did? Absolutely not, especially one of mine first time out,” trainer Brendan Walsh self-deprecatingly said last month.
Prevalence is a son of Medaglia d’Oro and is out of Enrichment, a daughter of Ghostzapper who has already reared UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) winner Estihdaaf and the stakes-winning Libreta. Out of Grade 2 winner Sahara Gold, Enrichment is a full sister to multiple Grade 1 turf star Better Lucky and a half to Grade 3 winner Sahara Heat and stakes-winning turf sprinter Final Frontier. Prevalence’s third dam was 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) heroine Desert Stormer.
The only Triple Crown nominee in the one-turn allowance, Prevalence on paper has perhaps two serious challengers at most. The more experienced of the two is Tio Magico, who makes his first start of the year and his first ever appearance on dirt. Based at Woodbine last year, Tio Magico won second out going 1 1/16 miles on Woodbine’s Tapeta surface and followed up with a clear second-place finish in the Coronation Futurity.
Another first-out debut winner making is first appearance against winners is Caxambas Candy, who dominated a Feb. 17 maiden over Gulfstream’s one-turn mile by 4 3/4 lengths as a 17-1 outsider. The David Fawkes trainee beat just five rivals in a race that was originally scheduled for the turf.
Prevalence’s stepping stone to a potential date with a Kentucky Derby prep next month goes as Race 8 with a post time of 4:44 p.m. ET.