By now, every skeptic has reason to be skeptical of any two-year-old storming out of Todd Pletcher’s barn. This past Derby season, he was loaded to the teeth with Constitution, Intense Holiday, and Danza to name just a few and where are they now? It seems to be a cycle that has been on repeat for some time, which often is the case for big name trainers with enormous payloads. With the “big” two-year-olds coming into beastly form, two names surfaced with smashing performances over the past weekend: Daredevil, winner of the Champagne Stakes (I) at Belmont, and Blofeld, winner of the Belmont Futurity (II) held the next day.
Yearling Daredevil was athletic and good-looking (Image courtesy LGS Racing)
I was cautiously optimistic about this one’s chances coming into the Champagne, but he is a really visually appealing colt and ran to his looks in that race. I was witness to runner-up Upstart’s excellent maiden win, and he beat that horse soundly and flattened the rest of the field without digging in deep. I didn’t see anything that worried me too tremendously that he may be distance-limited in the near future, as he won very confidently. However, his record bears an asterisk as he is 2-for-2, but on muddy tracks.
Verrazano (Image courtesy LGS Racing)
Pedigree-wise, Daredevil may or may not be another Verrazano, who is also by More Than Ready and owned by the same connections. Impressive as a juvenile, Verrazano was built too heavily to convince me that he would want two turns, and while Daredevil doesn’t concern me at this point, things may change. More Than Ready, a brilliant juvenile who went on to win the King’s Bishop (I) at 3 and become a successful sire, throws his best in his progeny’s early years. However, on Daredevil’s dam side there are some gold flecks; dam Chasethewildwind is a daughter of Forty Niner— a son of speedy Mr Prospector, but one who could go the distance and pass that ability on— and out of Chasethewildwind, making him a half brother to millionaire G1 winner Albertus Maximus (an able distance goer, but most effective going 8-9 furlongs). Chasethewildwind is also a half-sister to the dam of Forego (I) winner Here Comes Ben. Chasethewildwind’s dam, Race the Wild Wind, a G1 winner at age 3 and 4.