|Nehro (inside) breezes 6f in 1:12.20 at Churchill Downs |
with stablemate Dominus on May 30, 2011
Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs
In a tuneup for the June 11th Belmont-G1, Nehro breezed six furlongs over a fast track early this morning at Churchill Downs, in company with the Smart Strike colt, Dominus, another Steve Asmussen-trained three-year-old who placed in the Derby Trial-G3 at Churchill in his last start. Working on the rail under exercise rider Carlos Rosas, Nehro was caught by the clockers in 1:12.20. Even though he finished a length behind Dominus, assistant trainer Scott Blasi told Daily Racing Form, "I thought they went great."
Asmussen has indicated that Nehro will likely ship to Belmont in three days, on Thursday, June 2nd, where he'll train up to the mile-and-a-half classic at Belmont Park.
Nehro seems to be following in the footsteps of his late-maturing sire, Mineshaft, who didn't really blossom until his four-year-old season, when he became a true powerhouse, winning four Grade I handicaps, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Suburban, both at a mile and a quarter at Belmont. For his exploits that year, in which he won or placed in nine stakes and earned $2,209,686, Mineshaft was voted Champion Older Male and Horse of the Year.
|Nehro preps for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill|
on April 28, 2011
Photo: Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs
From his first five crops of racing age, Mineshaft has sired seven graded stakes winners, including classic contender Dialed In, who won this year's Florida Derby-G1, but who has not fared as well in the first two legs of the triple crown, finishing off the board in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
Nehro didn't break his maiden until February of this year, when he won a mile maiden special weight race at Oaklawn in his third lifetime start. Though he has now amassed earnings of $825,140, Nehro is still eligible for non-winners of two allowance conditions. Even though he won't go postward in the Belmont as the bettors' favorite, he will certainly go into the starting gate with their respect.
Nehro is the eighth foal from stakes-winning The Administrator, by Canadian Champion and Horse of the Year, Afleet, a son of Mr. Prospector. The Administrator has been a solid citizen in the breeding shed, having produced four other winners, including Grade III winner Saint Marden (by Saint Ballado) and the talented Kris S. filly, Sweet Lips, a stakes winner of $565,138.
Nehro's fifth dam, the Newstead Farm foundation mare, Legendra, is also the fifth dam of legendary Zenyatta. In a blog post from April, 2010, noted pedigree analyst Frank Mitchell recounted how W. L. Brann, who bred and raced Legendra in the 1940s, summed up his breeding philosophy in an interview with Daily Racing Form's Charlie Hatton: "I breed for the classics and try to emulate the best racehorses in England with my own bloodstock."
While Nehro's Dosage Index (4.33) suggests that he may not quite be able to get the Belmont's 12 furlongs, there is physiological evidence to indicate that he can. When they measured him prior to the 2009 Keeneland September sale, EQB recognized Nehro's superior cardiovascular capabilities, and earmarked him as one of their "short-list" prospects. Their client, Ahmed Zayat, subsequently signed the ticket for Nehro's $170,000 purchase price, and must be pleased with the returns on what now seems like a relatively modest investment.
Regardless of whether he wins the Belmont, or he doesn't, there's no doubt that in Nehro, Zayat Stable has got a talented colt in its arsenal, one who seems capable of becoming a star in his own right, with the genetic fortitude to keep going strong when other rivals fade in the stretch.