James Tafel’s homebred Street Sense, a record-smashing winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and America’s reigning 2-year-old champion, has returned to familiar surroundings at Churchill Downs, where he is to continue his preparations for the 133rd running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 5.
The Carl Nafzger-trained 3-year-old son of Street Cry flew from his winter home at Florida’s Palm Meadows training center to Louisville on Saturday and arrived at Nafzger’s barn at Churchill Downs following a short van ride from Louisville International Airport. The strapping bay colt was led from the van by stable foreman Carlos Tinajero, then stopped to nibble on grass and was given a bath before he settled back into the stall that has been the colt’s home for most of his racing life.
Nafzger was en route to Louisville from Florida when Street Sense arrived at Churchill Downs, so trainer Ian Wilkes, a former Nafzger assistant, oversaw the details surrounding the return of Street Sense to his home track.
“He shipped in good,” said Wilkes. “He’s confident and wanting to take it in. He’s really starting to take notice of people around him. He’s thinking he’s the big boy on the block.”
Street Sense sewed up honors as America’s 2-year-old champion of 2006 when he romped to a record 10-length victory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs in November. He nipped Any Given Saturday by a nose earlier this month when he made his 3-year-old debut in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). Wilkes said Street Sense has grown and matured over the winter in Florida.
“He’s got taller and stronger,” said Wilkes. “He’s turned from that baby to a 3-year-old. He’s a bigger teenager now; he’s at the college level.”
Street Sense is scheduled to make his final start before the Kentucky Derby in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) at Keeneland on April 14. Nafzger won the Kentucky Derby in 1990 with Mrs. Frances Genter’s Unbridled.