With a game victory in the $1 million Delta Jackpot (Grade 3), the unbeaten 2-year-old colt Ocho Ocho Ocho earned a major payday for new owner Deron Pearson (DP Racing LLC) and gave a hint that the colt might become one to reckon with in the trials for the 2015 classics.
The Delta Jackpot winner raced in midpack early, gained the lead around the turn, and seemed to have stamina in excess of finishing speed as he resolutely held Mr. Z all the way to the finish line in the eight-and-a-half-furlong race.
A $50,000 yearling last year at Keeneland September, DP Racing acquired the colt at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales April auction of 2-year-olds in training earlier this year for $200,000 as Hip 888 (hence the colt’s name). The dark bay worked a furlong and was one of many who clocked home in :10 1/5 or less. He looked good that day but even better with his debut victory and then a saucy-looking success in Santa Anita’s listed Juvenile Turf Sprint on Nov. 1, which was taken off the turf. After dueling head-and-head through fractions of :21.46 and :43.96, Ocho Ocho Ocho clocked the six furlongs on his own in 1:08.36, with a final time for the six and a half furlongs in 1:14.57.
For a rather stoutly pedigreed colt, Ocho Ocho Ocho has shown versatility and high speed as well as a determination to win.
Another of the positives about Ocho Ocho Ocho is that he is following a pattern of maturation and improvement similar to his sire, Street Sense. The best son of leading sire Street Cry, who unfortunately died this summer in Australia, Street Sense was named the champion juvenile of his crop after a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile of 2006, and the dark bay put to rest the tedious canard that the winner of that race could not win the Kentucky Derby the following season.
In addition to winning the Derby at the premium level, Street Sense also won the Travers and was a game second to Curlin in the 2007 Preakness Stakes.
As the first top son of Darley’s then-young sire sensation Street Cry, Street Sense was the subject of a heady bidding war among farms that sent the classic winner to stud at Darley’s Jonabell stallion operation in Kentucky after his 3-year-old season.
The acquisition of Street Sense was the linchpin of a series of stallion acquisitions that came as Darley was working to deepen its foothold in landscape of Kentucky stallion farms, and each of its three premium purchases that summer of 2007 was priced in the tens of millions.
Although caught up in the world economic collapse, Darley persevered with its trio of expensive young stallions from that crop – Street Sense, Hard Spun, and Any Given Saturday – and the first two of the three are still on the farm’s roster with solid commercial support in Kentucky.
Of the group, Hard Spun appeared to be the most commercially appealing to breeders after a crop or two, and as a son of supersire Danzig – the sire of many leading stallions around the globe – that was no wonder. On the other hand, Street Sense was the first important son of his sire at stud, and his initial offspring were racing well but not spectacularly. So, in 2013, Darley sent Street Sense to cover at its stallion farm in Japan and no sooner had that happened than up popped G1 winner Sweet Reason, winner of the Spinaway Stakes last season and victorious this year in the G1 Acorn and Test Stakes.
Not surprisingly, Street Sense was back in Kentucky for 2014, and with Ocho Ocho Ocho among his other good performers, the dark horse who wore the red roses will be covering a very good book of mares at Darley next season for a $35,000 fee.
Ocho Ocho Ocho is out of the Horse Chestnut mare Winner, and his third dam is the great racemare and broodmare Personal Ensign.
*The preceding post was first published earlier this week at Paulick Report.