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Sinister Minister simply ran his opposition into the ground when winning the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
He earned a high Globeform rating in the process and went from ‘outsider status’ to ‘among the favorites’ for the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Eight years ago his sire Old Trieste, who had a similar running style, led the Derby field into the home turn but tired and was only 10th behind Real Quiet. This is how he ran: “stumbled after the start, recovered quickly to reach the front nearing the backstretch, sprinted clear approaching the far turn but was finished after going a mile”.
Can his son do better? It does seem likely that he can. More than likely.
SINISTER MINISTER (Old Trieste) Globeform 120+ 0 – 98+ 120+ / V Espinoza
Keeneland favors speed, sometimes almost to the ridiculous, but when a horse wins a Grade One by over twelve lengths, one should not be too quick to knock the form. True, he beat Storm Treasure and Strong Contender - a couple of horses who will probably both be struggling to hit the board again in another top race, but Sinister Minister went furiously fast through the first half of the race – as he was pulling – and nobody would have been surprised if he had collapsed at the top of the lane. But he did not. He kept on running right to the wire and there is no doubt that he is a top class horse. Another point; how would people rate Storm Treasure, if Sinister Minister had not turned up in the Blue Grass? The race would have been given a totally different pace scanario of course, but we have Storm Treasure on a moderate Globeform 100 for his staying-on second place finish. Take Sinister Minister out of the chart and Storm Treasure becomes a 4 ½-length winner, ahead of Strong Contender, who was 4 lengths in front of Bluegrass Cat.
This is pure theory of course, but given such a result everyone would take a long look at Storm Treasure. Now, it seems, not many take a long look at Sinister Minister. Perhaps we ought to. Perhaps the key factor in his Blue Grass win lies in the margins behind his distant runner-up.
Sinister Minister simply ripped the field apart at Keeneland – and the fifth placed horse, First Samurai, checked in a staggering 30 ¼ lengths behind him. The son of Old Trieste is a seriously good racehorse.
If he gets loose on the lead, he will be a big danger, but he will be very lucky if he gets such a scenario on Derby day. Jockeys ignored War Emblem, when that colt took the Run for The Roses going gate to wire for Baffert in 2002, but they will hardly ignore this guy. Although, we can continue playing with theories and here’s another; from time to time, when a race is loaded with speed, not many dare to go to the lead. If that happens, well, then do beware – Sinister Minister would love it.
Where does his future lie? Well, he could win the Kentucky Derby – and if so the Preakness Stakes (G1) is the natural next target, but what can Sinister Minister achieve over shorter? In all probability, he’s a powerful miler in the making. Therefore, whatever happens on May 6, he is not one we will see in the Belmont Stakes (G1) – rather in the Met Mile (G1) perhaps?
Published: 2006-04-25 05:08:16
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