Bill Mott figured the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) would be a good test for his promising 2-year-old colt Court Vision, one that would give the trainer an idea of whether the son of Gulch was a legitimate, early Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) candidate.
Mott got more than he bargained for Nov. 24 in the 1 1/8-mile juvenile test at Aqueduct, as Court Vision was blocked in and then bumped in the stretch, but still managed to get up for a courageous neck victory over Atoned. It was a tremendous performance by the WinStar Farm colt, who is now three-for-four in his career, his only defeat coming by a half-length in his first start.
With Eibar Coa in the irons for the first time, Court Vision stopped the clock in 1.52.48 on the main track. Trust N Dustan finished third, 4 1/4 lengths in back of Atoned.
Court Vision was determined the official winner only after a stewards' inquiry and claim of foul by Alan Garcia, the rider of Big Truck, who thought Court Vision had initiated the contact.
“He had to work his way out and bully his way out,” Mott said. “This horse has been all about courage. He finished so strong once he got clear. He has got a bright future.”
Court Vision saved ground during the early going, staying close to pacesetters Tide Dancer and Springs Road through a half-mile in :49.15. Eventually, Atoned, who stumbled badly in the backstretch after clipping heels with Big Truck, joined the leaders at the six-furlong marker, and the three were together as they hit the final turn.
At that point, Court Vision was fourth, still toward the rail in a tightly bunched field, with all six starters within striking distance of the lead. But with nowhere to go at the top of the stretch, Coa had to move the 4-5 favorite, bringing him four-wide to find room. After first making contact with Big Truck, Court Vision shot through a narrow opening, but then began bumping with Trust N Dustan, who was on his outside.
Court Vision did not let the trouble deter him, finding another gear in the final furlong, with his sights set on Atoned. He gained ground with every stride, finally overtaking his stubborn rival in the final strides.
“I was getting bounced all over from the five-sixteenths pole to the three-sixteenths pole,” Coa said. “He fought back and pushed them out because they were trying to push him in. To overcome that, you saw the way he kicked. He was just much the best.”
Bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish and Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnership, Court Vision paid $3.60 to win. The exacta (1-6) earned bettors $11.80, while the trifecta (1-6-5) was worth $88.50
Out of the Storm Bird mare Weekend Storm, Court Vision entered off a half-length victory in the Oct. 28 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, which was three weeks before he broke his maiden on the Keeneland Polytrack. He was a $350,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-olds in training sale.