By Laura Pugh
In Arabic that word translates to dominant. It is ironic that such a name should belong to a colt who has swept two of Gulfstream Park’s three premier prep races for the Kentucky Derby. It is even more ironic that his record is unblemished, and he’s yet to be truly challenged.
Despite his perfect record and the ease of his Holy Bull victory, I was willing to try to beat the son of Tapit this past weekend. After all, it wasn’t as if he needed to win the Fountain of Youth. All he needed to do was get a race between the Holy Bull and Florida Derby — in order to stay sharp. Knowing this, I wouldn’t have blamed anyone who tried to beat him. However, in retrospect, it wasn’t the wisest of ideas.
In the Fountain of Youth, Mohaymen demonstrated yet another dimension. He found trouble early on when longshot Golden Ray bore out into Awesome Speed, multiple times, causing a domino effect. Golden Ray first bolted out just after the gates opened and then, again, entering the first turn. Both times he forced Awesome Speed into Mohaymen, causing that one to take back farther than jockey Junior Alvarado would have liked.
The early trouble did little to bother Mohaymen, who was eager to advance toward the leaders. As they came through the backstretch the grey son of Tapit began to edge up without any prodding from his jock.
“By the five-eighths pole, he started to get into a nice rhythm, that gear, and he started pulling on me, asking me for the next step,” noted Alvarado.
Entering the stretch, the unbeaten Zulu looked like he would put up a fight, but Mohaymen quickly disposed of him. In mid-stretch he began to draw clear until Alvarado wrapped him back up, making sure he didn’t do too much too soon. In the end, Mohaymen won by 2 ¼ lengths in a final time of 1.42.84.
“I didn’t want him to do that much. [Zulu and jockey John Velazquez] tried to engage me a little bit, but it’s horse racing. I’ve got the best horse today and he makes my job very easy,” claimed Alvarado.
Despite the ease of his victory, I still feel that Mohaymen was not fully cranked for this effort, leading me to wonder how good he could be at 100 percent? With Saturday’s effort, Mohaymen earned a 115 Equibase speed figure, a 95 Beyer (the same as his Holy Bull) and a 102 Brisnet speed rating.
The Equibase figure was a huge improvement over his Holy Bull number, which was still an impressive 106. His Brisnet figure also showed improvement (97 to 102).
Based on these numbers, it would seem that Mohaymen is steadily improving even though he has yet to be asked for his best. The Fountain of Youth was supposed to be his toughest test to date and, yet, it was one of his easier victories.
At this rate, the horse that shows up in Louisville will be in a whole different zip code than the rest of his peers, giving Godolphin Stables their best chance yet to capture that elusive victory in the Kentucky Derby.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Pugh has been in love with horses since age five, when she took her first ride as a birthday gift. When she was nine years old she began to take riding lessons as a hunter/jumper. Her first introduction to racing was watching War Emblem’s Triple Crown attempt and, from there, she was hooked. Her knowledge of the sport was self-learned as she took to reading ever book on the topic that she could lay hands on.
In 2009 she began her own blog named Horsin’ Around, where she earned a reputation for her passionate and fiery articles. It was that recognition that soon landed her a position as author of Dead Heat Debates, one of Horse Racing Nation’s many blogs. Since then she has written for other publications such as TwinSpires.com and Lady and the Track, always demonstrating the same fiery passion that her followers have come to expect.