Medjool won like a good 3-year-old

The David Hofmans-trained Medjool came charging down the stretch to win Monday’s ninth race at Santa Anita like he could be something special. He was facing a field that included eight other colts nominated to the Triple Crown races. Michael Baze had him fifth in the field of 12 much of the way before moving to second at the head of the lane and then drawing off to win by 4 1/2 lengths over a revamped synthetic surface that is not playing nearly as quickly as last Wednesday or during the Cushion Track, i.e. 605 Freeway, days. Perhaps what was most impressive about the way Medjool won was that he wasn’t chasing lightning-quick fractions. He sat behind an average pace of :23.73, :48.20 and 1:13.10 before making his final late charge and running the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.06

As for the national 3-year-old picture, Pyro looked extraordinary two weekends ago while winning the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. Last at the head of the stretch, the Steve Asmussen-trained colt came home in the center of the stretch like he was shot out of a cannon, and he did it after dawdling splits. It’s not normally wise to take horses that come out of the clouds in the Kentucky Derby, but this guy is showing he might be the exception. With a closing kick like he displayed in the Risen Star, he might be able to overcome any traffic problems he might encounter in what will most likely again be a full 20-horse field.

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