Monday, February 4, 2013

Derby Hopeful: Flashback

Derby Hopefuls feature the horses I view as the best contenders leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Each horse spotlighted in a Derby Hopeful will join the 2013 PTG Derby Hopeful roster, found on the right side of the blog. Horses will be listed in an order that corresponds to how highly I think of them, with the horse I think most highly of ranking at the top. A horse featured in a Derby Hopeful may be taken off the roster if its performances after its article are published are not up to par or if that horse is taken off the Triple Crown trail, though those articles will remain on my blog.

Photo by Casey Phillips
Siblings of famous racehorses often have high hopes pinned upon them and oftentimes, they do not live up to those standards. However, so far is not the case for Flashback, a full brother to the grade one-winning filly, Zazu. Though Flashback is campaigned by different connections than Zazu was, he shares the same gray coloring and class.

Catching my eye with an easy win in his debut at Hollywood Park, Flashback has been among my favorites for the Derby trail since December. In his sophomore debut, Flashback proved himself to be a top contender for the Kentucky Derby (GI) with a dominant victory in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (GII) at Santa Anita, a race eventual Kentucky Derby champion I’ll Have Another won in 2012.

Though facing just three rivals in the Lewis, Flashback’s adversaries included the graded stakes-winning Den’s Legacy and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) runner-up He’s Had Enough. Breaking cleanly from the second gate in the mile and one-sixteenth event over Santa Anita’s dirt oval, Flashback immediately went to the lead beneath Julien Leparoux. Though pressured by his opponents, the gray colt appeared very comfortable down the backstretch, his ears moving back and forth contentedly.

Flashback posted steady fractions as He’s Had Enough continued to press the pace, but the full brother to Zazu remained relaxed as he led the small field into the final curve. Around the bend, Flashback began to prove that he was head and shoulders above the rest, effortlessly easing away from his rivals before even reaching the quarter pole. Once into the homestretch, Flashback continued to kick clear, drawing off to win by an impressive 6 ¼ lengths in an easy manner.

Being inexperienced and having not yet faced the stiffest competition, the extent of Flashback’s talent remains uncertain. However, Flashback possesses undeniable potential and is clearly among the top contenders along the road to Louisville. Please read about this colt in greater detail in my Horse Racing Nation article about him, dated 12/18/12, “Flashback: A Star on the Rise.”

Flashback winning the Robert B. Lewis
Photo by Casey Phillips

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