Rocket Fuel
Please provide a valid email address.
Close

Blog - RACING

Photo courtesy Eclipse Sportswire

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. 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 ability, running style, connections (owner, trainer, jockey) pedigree.

This week we take a look at Flashback, who made a sparkling stakes debut when winning the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) on Feb. 2 at Santa Anita Park.

red white blue Bar

Flashback

Gray or Roan Colt

Sire (Father): Tapit

Dam (Mother): Rhumb Line, by Mr. Greeley

Breeder: William G. Andrade, M.D., 
and Michael E. Hernon (Ky.)

Owner: Gary and Mary West

Trainer: Bob Baffert

In only his second career race, Flashback drove to a 6 ¼-length win in a Grade 2 prep on the Triple Crown Trail and rose right to the top tier of 2013 Kentucky Derby hopefuls. In fact, the Wynn Las Vegas Race & Sports Book pegged Flashback as the favorite at 9-1 for the 2013 Derby following his Lewis Stakes win. So, why the sudden show of respect? Let’s explore 

Ability: Flashback has won his first two career starts by a combined margin of 9 3/4 lengths, so he has yet to be truly challenged. He prevailed in his debut by 3 1/2 lengths going seven-eighths of a mile on the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park before running away with the 1 1/16-mile Lewis Stakes on the dirt main track at Santa Anita Park. In the Lewis, Flashback improved his Equibase Speed Figure from 84 to 103. Judging from his first two starts, it’s fair to suggest that Flashback is quickly improving and certainly appreciated the added distance. He also has shown versatility by winning on two different surfaces.

It is, however, also fair to question the quality of competition Flashback faced in the Robert B. Lewis. He overwhelmed the other three 3-year-olds in the race and led virtually every step of the way. Flashback finished eagerly and fast after setting a leisurely pace.

“We were hoping he would do something like that,” trainer Bob Baffert said of the breakout performance. “But when a horse came to him, he pinned his ears a little bit. He’s still pretty green.”

No doubt, Flashback has some ground to make up on the more seasoned opposition he will face as he progresses on the path to the Kentucky Derby. When he does get tested in the stretch of a race, we will find out much more about this talented colt than we learned from the Robert B. Lewis.

REPLAY OF ROBERT B. LEWIS STAKES

Running style: Flashback has shown tactical speed in his two races, which means he can use his high-cruising speed to take control if the pace is slow or relax behind the leaders if one horse or several horses dictate a fast tempo, which is exactly what he did in his career debut. In that seven-eighths of a mile race, Flashback raced in fourth through a blistering opening quarter-mile and a quick half-mile before launching his winning bid. Tactical speed opens up options as the distances get longer and the fields become more crowded with 3-year-olds jockeying for precious spots in the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby. It sure helps on Kentucky Derby day, too.

(Click here to view the 2013 Derby Leaderboard)

Connections: Flashback is in the capable hands of Bob Baffert, who was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2009 and knows a thing or two about preparing a horse for the U.S. classics. Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby three times (Silver Charm [1997], Real Quiet [1998], War Emblem [2002]), the Preakness Stakes five times (Silver Charm [1997], Real Quiet [1998], Point Given [2001], War Emblem [2002], Lookin At Lucky [2010]) and the Belmont Stakes once (Point Given [2001]). Baffert also had the runner-up in each of the U.S. classics in 2012 and has a loaded hand for 2013.

Making the Grade: Revolutionary

Making the Grade: Itsmyluckyday

Making the Grade: Oxbow

Making the Grade: Dewey Square

Making the Grade: Vyjack

Making the Grade: Goldencents

Making the Grade: Overanalyze

Making the Grade: Violence

Making the Grade: Uncaptured

Making the Grade: Shanghai Bobby

Gary and Mary West have been involved in racing Thoroughbred for more than 30 years and past stars include Buddha, Dollar Bill, Mass Media, and High Limit. They also own another 2013 classics contender in Power Broker.

“I want to thank Gary and Mary West for putting a monster like this in my lap,” Baffert said of Flashback. “It makes it more fun when you have a horse like this.”

Regular rider Julien Leparoux won the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey in 2009. Three years earlier he was honored as outstanding apprentice jockey at the 2006 Eclipse Awards. Leparoux has yet to win a U.S. classic race.

Pedigree: Flashback is by top sire Tapit, who is standing the 2013 breeding season for $125,000 at Gainesway in Lexington and already has sired U.S. champions Hansen and Stardom Bound and four Breeders’ Cup winners from his first five crops.

On the track, Tapit was a graded stakes winner at two and won the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) as a 3-year-old in 2004.

Flashback’s dam (mother), Rhumb Line won her first three starts, including a race going one mile, before finishing last in her stakes debut in the 2003 Mother Goose Stakes (G1). She twice finished fourth in stakes but never earned a breakthrough stakes win. In the breeding shed, Rhumb Line has been far more successful. She has four winners from five starters with Flashback as her third stakes winner. He is a full brother (same sire [father] and dam [mother]) to multiple Grade 1 winner Zazu, who was very capable in longer races, winning a Grade 1 race at 1 1/16 miles and another graded stakes at that distance. She also won a Grade 1 race at a mile. Zazu sold for $2.1 million at the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Flashback boasts the pedigree to be a top-class racehorse. 

Mike Curry’s Kentucky Derby Top 20

  1. Itsmyluckyday

11. Overanalyze

  2. Revolutionary

12. Super Ninety Nine

  3. Shanghai Bobby

13. Goldencents

  4. Oxbow

14. Vyjack

  5. Verrazano

15. Demonic

  6. Flashback

16. Dynamic Sky

  7. Violence

17. Palice Malice

  8. Normandy Invasion

18. Mac the Man

  9. Uncaptured

19. Falling Sky

10. Delhomme

20. Mylute

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Sponsors & Partners

  • FoxSports1
  • NBC Sports
  • Logo 6
  • Saratoga
  • Santa Anita
  • CBS Sports
  • Monmouth
  • Keeneland
  • Gulfstream Park
  • Del Mar
  • Belmont Park
  • Arlington Park
  • OwnerView