Hoppertunity’s path to the Kentucky Derby closely mirrors the path taken by Bodemeister in 2011/2012.
• Both horses were unraced as a 2YO.
• Both horses were relatively late foals.
• Both horses broke their maidens on their second attempt.
• Both horses went immediately into graded stakes competition following their maiden win.
• Both horses lost their stakes debut.
• Both horses won a graded stakes their next out following the stakes loss.
• Both horses had a large number of works under their belt prior to their debuts – works that may have flown under the radar due to both horses having name changes during the course of their 2YO year.
|Date of birth||4/28/2009||5/7/2011|
|Unraced at 2YO?||Yes||Yes|
|Published works prior to debut||26||18|
|Number of tries to break maiden||2||2|
|Placing in stakes debut||2nd San Felipe||4th Risen Star|
|Placing in subsequent stakes||1st Arkansas Derby||1st Rebel S.|
As the weeks stretch on, if Hoppertunity* appears likely to be a Derby entrant, once again talk will turn to the “unraced at 2” angle. As I posted back in 2012, I find this angle to be a complete non-issue. Based on the percentages of entrants unraced as a juvenile vs. everyone else, the outcomes have fallen right about where they should be. This post isn’t to convince you to immediately key in or toss out a horse unraced at two in the Kentucky Derby, but merely once again to show you that the blanket generalization of “unraced at two = bad” is just a little too simplistic.
*As the other main unraced as a juvenile Derby hopefuls (Bayern and Social Inclusion) do not yet have the points to make the race as of the time of this post and Hoppertunity (at 55 pts) most likely does, he is the current focus. (THE I SHOULD HAVE WAITED FOR THIS AFTERNOON’S RACES EDIT: Following the Florida Derby, you can now add Constitution to the unraced at two Derby hopeful list. At this point the “curse” may fall simply due to sheer numbers.)
In May 2013, the Any Given Saturday-Refugee colt now known as Hoppertunity was registered with the name Anyway U Way. He would record his first published work as Anyway U Way at Hollywood Park on 8/17/2013, clocking a total of eleven works from 8/17/2013 to 10/29/2013 under this name.
In early November 2011, Anyway U Way’s name was changed to Hoppertunity. He would record his first published work as Hoppertunity on 11/6/2013, logging seven works at Hollywood/Santa Anita before debuting at Santa Anita on 1/4/2014.
While Hoppertunity got off to a relatively late start compared to many of his contemporaries on the Derby trail (California Chrome says hi), he has recorded consistent works since mid-August 2013 with no apparent time off for unsound mind or body. While nothing can compare to race day experience, a consistent work pattern does count for quite a bit, especially in a case where it appears at first glance his initial published work was in November 2013, when he had actually been working since mid-August.