Overanalyze (center) winning Remsen Stakes. (Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese/NYRA)
Making the Grade, which will run right up until the Belmont Stakes (G1), will focus on the winners of the big races, usually from the previous weekend, who could impact the 2013 Triple Crown races. We’ll be taking a close look at impressive winners and evaluating their chances to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby (G1) based on factors such as talent, running style, pedigree, and connections (owner, trainer, jockey).
During the weeks when there are no key races on the Derby trail, we’ll take a look back at some of the key contenders who already have shown flashes of the type of class needed to be a contender for Triple Crown glory.
This week we take a look at Overanalyze, the winner of the 1 1/8-mile Remsen Stakes (G2) on Nov. 24 at Aqueduct.
Sire: Dixie Union
Dam: Unacloud, by Unaccounted For
Breeder: Diamond A Racing Corp. (Ky.)
Owner: Repole Stable
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Three of the first four 2013 classics hopefuls evaluated in this blog have come from the barn of multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, a combination of both his talents as a trainer and the quality of horses his owners send him.
Following probable champion 2-year-old male Shanghai Bobby and CashCall Futurity (G1) winner Violence in this blog is Overanalyze. J.J. Crupi, acting on behalf of Mike Repole, purchased Overanalyze for $380,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Prior to the Remsen Stakes on Nov. 24, Overanalyze did not appear to be in the same league (or area code) as the aforementioned Shanghai Bobby, the unbeaten Grey Gosse Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner. Shanghai Bobby overwhelmed Overanalyze by seven lengths in the seven-furlong Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (G2) in September at Saratoga Race Course.
After the Hopeful, Overanalyze cut back in distance to six furlongs (three-quarters of a mile) for the Futurity Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park and won easily before stretching back out for the Iroquois Stakes (G3), a one-mile race at Churchill Downs where he was beaten by eight lengths by Uncaptured.
OVERANALYZE WINNING FUTURITY STAKES
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
Overanalyze responded gamely in the Remsen stretch after fast-closing Normandy Invasion had actually passed him on the outside. Racing between pacesetter Delhomme and Normandy Invasion, Overanalyze fought bravely to win by a nose after he looked beaten in the final eighth of a mile.
Overanalyze demonstrated in the Remsen the type of determination it takes to win a classic race. Plus, it sure looks like runner-up Normandy Invasion and third-place finisher Delhomme are legitimate 2-year-olds in their own right.
Some horses are bred to be classic-type 3-year-olds, but the Triple Crown trail is littered every year with horses whose pedigrees limit effectiveness as the distances of the races become longer and longer. Some horses, such as Smarty Jones in 2004, possess the talent and athleticism to overcome pedigrees that suggest classic distances might be beyond the scope of realistic expectations. Overanalyze’s victory at 1 1/8 miles would seem to suggest that distance will not be a problem in the path to the Derby, but let’s take a look at his pedigree for some additional clues.
A couple of aspects of Overanalyze’s pedigree jump out right off the bat. First, his sire (father), Dixie Union, has a nice track record of siring talented racehorses; and second, he is a half-brother (same mother, different father) to Grade 1 winner Meadow Breeze.
Dixie Union won the 2000 Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) among seven wins from 12 starts and his success carried over to the breeding shed until his death at age 13 in 2010. Not necessarily a classic distance-type sire, Dixie Union was better known for passing along speed and precocity, but 2012 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Union Rags was proof Dixie Union is more than capable of siring a top Kentucky Derby contender.
Overanalyze’s dam (mother) was unraced but she is by 1995 Whitney Handicap (G1) winner Unaccounted For, who also finished second that year in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), two of the most prestigious 1 ¼-mile races on the calendar.
The maternal side of Overanalyze’s pedigree tilts more toward speed and precocity than stamina. Meadow Breeze’s Grade 1 win came at seven furlongs and that was her longest trip to the winner’s circle. Overanalyze’s second dam (grandmother) did not win a race longer than three-quarters of a mile.
As with most 3-year-olds, it seems safe to say Overanalyze’s ability to fire a top effort at the 1 ¼-mile Derby distance is a big question. His pedigree certainly does not scream stamina but his Remsen performance showed he had plenty of puff to win a graded stakes around two turns and provided reason for optimism that this might be a rapidly developing colt heading the right way.
With Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Pletcher (2010, Super Saver) in his corner, Overanalyze should be formidable on the 2013 Triple Crown trail. But at this point he remains far behind Shanghai Bobby and Uncaptured, both of whom defeated him handily and comprise the top tier in the division based upon on-track accomplishment.
Overanalyze has yet to string together two straight wins and still has significant ground to make up to join the upper echelon of this class of 2013 classics hopefuls. The Remsen was an eye-opener, though, and Overanalyze now has our full attention.