Young horses can experience growing pains.
And so can horsemen and handicappers.
A good example of just how profitable it can be to find the right path for a horse can be seen in a 3-year-old named Seismic Jolt.
He was purchased last year at a 2-year-old sale for $800,000 by the partnership of e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables, the same owners who teamed on Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic, so there were surely high hopes for the son of Kantharos.
Those expectations showed when Seismic Jolt debuted for trainer Mark Casse as a 9-5 favorite in a five furlong turf sprint at Saratoga on Aug. 13. Unfortunately, on that day at the Spa Seismic Jolt showed some early speed but then tired in the stretch and faded to fourth.
Switched to the barn of trainer Dave Fawkes, Seismic Jolt returned in a similar race at Gulfstream Park on Oct. 28 and this time prompted the pace the entire way while finishing second by 2 ¾ lengths as a 3-5 favorite.
After his colt’s second straight performance as a beaten favorite, Fawkes revised the game plan.
He switched Seismic Jolt to Gulfstream’s main track and the colt finally caused a rumble. Running in a Dec. 7 maiden race on dirt at Gulfstream, Seismic Jolt grabbed the early lead and never looked back. He pulled away to a 6 ½-length lead in midstretch and cruised to the finish line for a five-length score as the 2-1 second choice.
After that, when Seismic Jolt turned 3 in January, Fawkes decided to give him a bigger test, entering him in the $75,000 Limehouse Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 5.
It seemed an ambitious spot off a maiden win, but with young, inexperienced horses, once they show a preference for a certain type of racing, it’s often worthwhile to follow along with your wagering dollars.
In this case, the belief that dirt was golden for Seismic Jolt paid off.
In the six furlong Limestone, he was fourth in the early stages but then launched a strong, wide move for the lead on the turn and powered past his six rivals to register an impressive 3 ½-length victory.
Adding to the positives, Seismic Jolt was the 7-2 third choice and paid $9.40 to win for a victory that was convincing on the racetrack and in terms of the inherent value in a young horse finding his career path.