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The following story was published earlier this week at Paulick Report.


Shortly after J. B.’s Thunder crossed the line to win the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, trainer Al Stall was saying the Thunder Gulch colt was no better than 50-50 to go to the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

In his comment, Stall named the G3 Delta Jackpot ($1 million at Delta Downs) as the alternate start for this high-class staying 2-year-old. Reading between the lines, one is inclined to think the owners and trainer are focused not on this year but on 2011 and the first Saturday in May.

With big graded earnings already in hand, they could place their colt where they want, race when J. B.’s Thunder is ready, and be guaranteed a spot in the starting gate in the Run for the Roses.

That is what I’d call long-term vision. It can be a source of great strength in this game, which is too often played day to day or maybe week to week.

That interpretation of owner Columbine Stable’s plans also is a statement of unqualified confidence in their colt, who was winning his second race in his second start and in now an undefeated G1 winner.

In the Breeders’ Futurity, the unbeaten bay looked like a natural two-turn performer, as one would suspect from his pedigree. The son of Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Thunder Gulch is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Rebridled Dreams (pedigree).

Bred in Kentucky by Coffeepot Stable (Annette and Bob Cummins), the colt was raised by Beau Lane at his Woodline Farm near Paris, Ky.

Lane consigned the colt for the breeders at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale, where the grand-looking youngster brought only $42,000, about enough for them to break even. The consignor said that J. B.’s Thunder was “a cracking good colt. We had some really good people look at him, but the vets kept knocking people off the horse. Nobody would take a chance on him, except these people from Columbine Stable.”

Like Lookin At Lucky, Unbridled’s Song, Farda Amiga and many hundreds of other fine prospects, J. B.’s Thunder “didn’t vet” by having a veterinary report with no comments.

Lane said, “This was a great colt. Just a knockout. But he had an old fracture line visible on a hind pastern, just a line below the sesamoids behind the ankle. It was just visible on the radiographs, but Dr. [Robert] Hunt [of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute] said, ‘This will never bother him. It’s healed.’”

The decision to sell was essentially a practical one for the breeders. They could approximate breaking even and send the colt into good hands, then hope for the colt to do well, improve the value of his siblings, and make money another day.

So they sold. The couple who breed as Coffeepot Stable come from Chicago. Lane said that “Bob Cummins does all his own matings, and we foal and raise the stock.”

J. B.’s Thunder is the third foal out of Coffeepot Stable’s mare Rebridled Dreams, one of the 80-odd stakes winners by Unbridled’s Song. The bay Rebridled Dreams won the Money Penny Stakes and was third in the Silverbulletday Stakes (G2).

The mare’s first foal is stakes winner Doncaster Rover (by War Chant), who went to race in France, Ireland, and England, where he also has placed in Group 3 stakes.

Lane said, “You gotta get your babies in good hands, and then you can see what you’re dealing with and have a chance of proving the mare. This was a nice colt. Big, good-sized colt with a lot of bone, good feet. Had a great mind, a long stride, long shoulder, really nice. He was a hell of a buy at that price.”

From the response to the colt’s victory at Keeneland on Saturday, he would have been a “hell of a buy” at 10 times the price. The owners now have a G1 winner with serious classic prospects, and they are looking at having a lot of serious fun in the coming months.

Now that’s what racing is all about.