Harty ran Colonel John in last year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and is back this year with his younger brother, Mr. Hot Stuff. The two WinStar Farm homebreds are by farm stallion Tiznow out of the Turkoman mare Sweet Damsel.
"They are very different mentally," Harty said April 28 from the Churchill Downs backstretch. "Colonel John was very professional from day one. Mr. Hot Stuff is not as naturally brilliant as Colonel John."
That doesn’t translate to not as talented, though.
"Mr. Hot Stuff always worked good and showed plenty of run," Harty said. "I was always encouraged by him early on, and realistically, I always thought he had Derby potential."
But, the brothers were quite different in their races prior to the Derby.
Colonel John had four wins and two seconds before shipping to Louisville, Ky., having won the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) in his final prep race. Mr. Hot Stuff has won only one of seven starts, breaking his maiden in February.
"He has been picking it up," the Irish native said of Mr. Hot Stuff. "Think of it as on the job training. You know it took Real Quiet a while to come around."
Harty is a former assistant to trainer Bob Baffert, who won the Derby with Real Quiet (as well as Silver Charm and War Emblem).
Harty was able to secure the services of leading rider John Velazquez when Quality Road dropped out of the field because of quarter crack issues.
"Horses either pick it up or they don’t, but not all at the same rate," Harty said.