Courtesy of The Blood-Horse
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Here they come. Just about this time each year, a second wave of talented 3-year-olds hits the Derby trail, and we got a glimpse of one of them Wednesday when Padua Stables’ Odysseus demolished an allowance field at Tampa Bay Downs by 15 lengths for trainer Tom Albertrani. Although he didn’t beat much, he did it the right way, tracking the pace, allowing the pacesetter and second choice, Exhi, to open up by almost five lengths, and then blew right on by him when jockey Rajib Maragh gave him the cue.
He had his ears pinned the whole way and was looking to do more after crossing the wire. You had to love the way he kept his head and down and was always reaching out with good extension.
Again, this was a field he should have manhandled if he expects to make it to Churchill Downs, but he displayed great style, has a commanding presence and terrific cruising speed, and you have to be impressed with his female family. By A.P. Indy’s son Malibu Moon, he has three Belmont Stakes winners and an English Triple Crown winner in his first three generations; his second dam is a full-sister to major distance stakes winners De la Rose and Upper Nile; and he has strong stamina influences in his tail-female family in Nijinsky II and Round Table.
All the pieces are there and we just have to see how they come together in his next start, which one would think will come in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). That would allow Albertrani to get another prep in him on April 3, as opposed to waiting for the Florida Derby (gr. I) and then having to go six weeks to the Kentucky Derby. And you know he loves this track.
Everyone who has ever been around this horse has fallen in love with him. He was a huge foal weighing over 140 pounds, but was always light on his feet.
“He was always an incredible walker with a loose gait and easy movement,” said Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall, where Odysseus was foaled and raised. “He was the type of horse that you would see walking from several fields away and someone would say ‘Who's that?’
“He always had a great attitude and was very strong and healthy. He was the kind of horse that could live on air and water. He was such a good doer.”
Consigned to the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale, he was purchased for $110,000 by Nick and Jaqui DeMeric, who “loved his walk and everything about him.”
They then consigned him to the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.'s 2-year-old sale, where he was purchased by Satish Sanan’s Padua Stables for $250,000. When Brogden called Nick DeMeric after the race to congratulate him, he told her that the horse would make his heart flutter every time he worked him.
You can bet Wednesday’s performance had Sanan’s heart fluttering. Few have attempted to do more for the Thoroughbred industry in recent years than Sanan, so maybe the Derby gods finally are ready to reward him.