Brethren is a young colt I’ve been following since last summer. I wrote about him in my 2011 Kentucky Derby Outlook and my blog about the Importance of Dam Lines.
With the most likely scratch Saturday of favored Uncle Mo who is also entered to run in the Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Brethren will enter the starting gate as the morning line even money favorite in the 31st running of the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Undefeated in three starts, Brethren was impressive in his 3-year-old debut winning the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) by four lengths and he looms as the horse to beat in the Tampa Bay Derby.
However, if Striding Ahead (10-1) lives up to his breeding, he could be very competitive.
Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott sends Striding Ahead to the starting gate off of an impressive 6 ¾ - length (see video) maiden win last month at Tampa Bay Downs. In just his second start, Striding Ahead appeared to be very professional and focused, covering the 8 ½ - furlongs on a wet, fast track in a time of 1:45.58 compared to Brethren’s time of 1:45.07 in the Davis stakes.
I really like the pedigree of Striding Ahead which qualifies as WOW and reads like a who’s who of Classic Champion Thoroughbreds, important sires and mares. Striding Ahead reminds me of Summer Bird, one of my original WOW horses, in that he, too, is lightly raced and is not nominated to the Triple Crown.
However, a win in the Tampa Bay Derby or a good performance might change that.
One never knows if these young colts will live up to their breeding and I’m anxious to see if Striding Ahead continues to move forward.
Striding Ahead’s sire is Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Empire Maker and Kentucky Derby winner (G1) Unbridled is his grandsire. Important sire, Nureyev, is Striding Ahead’s damsire and Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew is the sire of his second dam.
Helstra, the dam of Striding Ahead, is inbred to Matriarch Rough Shod through two full-sisters and Reines-de-Course mares Thong and Moccasin. Half (16) of the 32 bloodlines in Striding Ahead’s five-generation pedigree are descended from Matriarchs written about by Edward L. Bowen in his books Matriarchs, Great Mares of the 20th Century and Matriarchs Volume II: More Great Mares of Modern Times.
The huge number of Matriarchs in the pedigree of Striding Ahead is an important influence that is not often found in the pedigrees of most horses. If Striding Ahead is nominated to the Triple Crown, I’ll elaborate more, later, about his pedigree.
Since moving to the barn of trainer Chad Brown, Free Entry (7-2) appears to be a horse that is moving forward. In January, Free Entry broke his maiden in his 3-year-old debut and comes into the Derby with two back-to-back wins.
Free Entry earned a 96 Brisnet Speed Figures for both of those races and if he continues to move forward he should be competitive.
Too Experience (8-1) comes into the Derby with an impressive 5-1-0 record in seven starts. His worst effort was a seventh-place finish in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes last September at Calder Race Course. In his last race, Too Experience finished second to Brethren in the Sam Davis.
A bullet work out on February 26 and a sharp work since then should have Too Experience ready to run a good race.