Whichever horse wins the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on May 7th could be in for a challenge when they get to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) two weeks later, because given how impressive Stradivari was while winning an allowance race at Keeneland on April 17th, he could be a significant contender in the Preakness if his connections choose to take that route.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Stradivari finished fourth in his debut at Aqueduct last November, but burst on to the Triple Crown scene with a dominating 11 1/4-length victory in a Gulfstream maiden special weight on December 5th. He was sidelined after that race and didn’t get a chance to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, but gave notice at Keeneland that he will be a force to reckon with wherever he runs.
Sent off as the second choice in the 8.5-furlong race, Stradivari was content to settle in second early on as Siding Spring–dropping in class off runs in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) and Rebel Stakes (gr. II)–set fractions of :24.08 and :47.47 seconds. But as the pace picked up through six furlongs in 1:11.30 Stradivari took command in effortless fashion and starting extending his lead without urging from jockey John Velazquez. In the blink of an eye he was five lengths in front, and passing the eighth pole, he was clear by eight lengths. The fourth quarter-mile went in a sharp :24.82 and Stradivari continued to pour on the speed in the final furlong, pulling away under no urging at all to win by 14 1/2 lengths in the fast time of 1:48.64 for nine furlongs. His time compared very favorably with the time of 1:48.57 posted by the four-year-old Eagle while winning Keeneland’s Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) on April 16th.
After the race, it was reported on Twitter that Stradivari’s next start could come in a stakes race, with the Preakness being one possibility.
Stradivari is owned by John Gunther, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Mrs. John Magnier. He is a son of Medaglia d’Oro out of the American Chance mare Bending Strings.
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