Creative Cause faces uphill battle to even make Derby

There is absolutely no doubt that Creative Cause, 1 3/4-length winner of Sunday’s $150,000 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, is a very nice colt. He’s been much the best in both of his starts and, seeing as though he’s sired by Giant’s Causeway, should enjoy the added distances.

Mike Harrington, who’s trained a talented 2-year-old or two during his day, was happier for the colt’s owner after the Best Pal than he was for himself.

“This is really special for Mr. Steinmann (owner Heinz Steinmann),” Harrington said. “He spent a lot of money for three horses. I might have a couple better than this one, but you won’t see them for a while. Maybe this fall, maybe next year. We bought them all for 3-year-olds and we’re in no hurry with any of them.”

After Creative Cause won the Best Pal, I told someone in the Del Mar press box that he’s a better bet to not even start in next spring’s Kentucky Derby than he is to make or win the race. It’s just fact. These horses are so fragile and delicate, that’s it’s day to day with all of them. Some regress as the distances get longer on the Road to the Derby next spring.

The odds of one of the top 2-years-old today staying healthy and making it to the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs are not good. It’s a sad reality in this sport.

Want proof?

Well, none of the previous 40 winners of the Best Pal Stakes went on to win the Kentucky Derby, and only seven even ran in the race. Here’s the rundown:

* Lookin At Lucky, 2009 winner of the Best Pal — sixth in the Derby.
* Wordly Manner, 1998 — seventh.
* Timber Country, 1994 — third.
* Best Pal, 1990 — second.
* Purdue King, 1987 — 16th.
* Flying Paster, 1978 — fifth.
* Diabolo, 1974 — third.

I’m hoping like heck that Harrington, Steinmann and Co. put an end to the Best Pal hex by winning the Run for the Roses next May. But I’m also more than ready for the disappointment of not even seeing him enter the starting gate.

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