Shared Sense out to confirm Kentucky Derby hopes - GulfToday

Shared Sense out to confirm Kentucky Derby hopes


Trainer Brad Cox hopes Shared Sense will settle scores with Art Collector and win the Ellis Park Derby prize on Sunday. Courtesy: Godolphin website

Shared Sense looks to further his Kentucky Derby ambitions as he takes on Art Collector for a second time in the Ellis Park Derby over nine furlongs on dirt at Ellis Park, US, on Sunday.

The Brad Cox-trained colt finished second to Art Collector in a Churchill Downs allowance optional claimer over an extended mile in June, with the winner going on to further success in the G2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland the following month.

Shared Sense (Florent Geroux) also went on to advertise his Kentucky Derby aspirations on his subsequent start, with the Street Sense colt breaking the course record for nine furlongs at Indiana Grand with a dominant victory in the G3 Indiana Derby on Wednesday, July 8.

Cox said: “Shared Sense bounced out of the Indiana Derby in good order and has had two works at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Ellis Park Derby. This is another step up and a solid race, with Art Collector the deserving favourite, but our horse is doing well.

“When we ran against Art Collector the first time, we were at the back of the pack with no pace on, but Shared Sense ran on and I was pleased with the effort. They almost broke the track record, so the track was quick, and it was a big effort from our horse. Art Collector went on to pick off a G2 very impressively and both horses seem to be going the right way at the moment.

“Florent did a great job in the Indiana Derby, when he saved some ground and got him to the outside neatly. It was pretty much push-button, and Shared Sense responded well. It was definitely the best race he has ever run by far. Given his pedigree and physical make-up, he should get better with distance and experience,” he added.

Meanwhile, six-year-olds Wild Card and Baskerville both aim for a first G3 success in the Elm Stakes over an extended mile on dirt at Sapporo, Japan, on Sunday.

Wild Card (Tetsuya Kimura/Hiroshi Kitamura) ended his 2019 season with a flourish as he quickened well to win the nine-furlong Listed Betelgeuse Stakes at Hanshin in December.

The Street Sense entire has yet to make an impact in two G3 appearances this year, most recently when finishing down the field in the Antares Stakes over nine furlongs at Hanshin in April.

Baskerville (Yukihiro Kato/Suguru Hamanaka) makes his first G3 start on the back of two Stakes victories, with the Bernardini horse having captured the nine-furlong Tonegawa Tokubetsu at Nakayama in April and the extended 10-furlong Tanzawa Stakes at Tokyo in May.

Harry Sweeney, President of Godolphin in Japan, said: “A cursory look at Wild Card’s form gives a very favourable impression — he has won six times and been placed on a further five occasions from only 14 starts and is a racing millionaire. However, a more detailed inspection of the data shows that on the three occasions when he failed to make the frame, he flopped spectacularly, and in fact was beaten by almost 20 lengths in one of those races despite starting as second favourite.

“What is concerning is that two of these embarrassing defeats were recorded on his last two outings and his trainer, jockeys and indeed our team are at a loss to explain what went wrong. We brought him back to our pre-training facility after his last disappointing outing but William Balding didn’t note anything seriously amiss and the horse was training very well when he made the short trip back to his registered trainer in Miho. His trainer has reported that Wild Card has been training really well in the last number of weeks and is expecting a much-improved performance this week.

“After his last run, we decided to geld him, although a stay of execution was eventually put on this decision. We will need to see a much improved performance this weekend and Wild Card will be running under the sword of Damocles, literally.

“Baskerville, like Wild Card, will be carrying Godolphin’s royal blue silks on Sunday. Though both are six-year-old dirt horses and both are trained near Tokyo in Miho, it will in fact be the first time that they have lined up together. The form would suggest that Wild Card is a better horse but Baskerville’s recent form is much superior. The American-bred son of Bernardini finished second on his seasonal bow in January but has won his only two other starts in 2020. His original trainer retired about two years ago after which Yukihiro Kato took over responsibility which coincided with a resurgence in form. While he was largely campaigned over seven furlongs in his early years, the new regime has engineered wins over nine and 10 and a half furlongs. He will be running over eight and a half this weekend which he should cope with fine.

“Though a six-year-old, this weekend will be his first ever run in a Group race and expectations therefore need to be tempered accordingly. It will be a remarkable training performance if he is in the shake-up.”

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