Vindication is a name with special meaning for Satish Sanan and his family. They chose it for a colt they thought was special, and he will be seeking vindication for their Padua Stable program when he runs Saturday in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Because of their big spending at Thoroughbred auctions, the Sanans have been scrutinized closely. There have been many ups and downs. They have had to sell some of their best stock because of setbacks in Satish Sanan's technology business. Often, the performance of their high-priced horses on the track has been disappointing. Last year, they parted with Hall-of-Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Last year, the Sanans were back under the microscope again when they paid $2.15 million for a son of Seattle Slew at the Saratoga yearling sale. Satish Sanan said they were criticized widely. So Vindication seemed like a good choice for a name.
"It's to vindicate the Padua team that is comprised of my daughter (Nadia); Bruce Hill, who has been with us for many years; and Randy Bradshaw," Sanan explained. "The team goes out and picks the horses and so on. And without naming a certain Hall of Fame trainer, you can figure it out yourself. Everyone said that this horse had a lot of vetting problems, would never make the racetrack, and would never even leave our training center."
Continued Nadia Sanan: "We had no problems at all with the horse. He passed our vet. There was a little bit of concern, but nothing more than a lot of other horses. It was vetting with the legs that everyone was having a problem with."
Satish Sanan said they had the colt vetted again and "decided we were going to go ahead with it."
Sanan was so sure of his decision that he pushed his daughter to exceed the original limit of their budget to purchase Vindication. He liked the colt because of his pedigree. She liked him because she thought he had a lot of class.
"The limit was $1.5 million," Nadia Sanan said, "and I was on the phone with dad. I bid on my own up to the limit, and then dad jumped in and said, "Don't stop or I'll call (Fasig-Tipton chairman) D.G. Van Clief myself or I'll call (Fasig-Tipton executive vice president) Boyd Browning."
So far, according to Satish Sanan, the family has never had any reason to regret the purchase.
"He hasn't had a pimple in training," he said. "He's trained awesome. He's really, really a good horse, both mentally and physically."
The likely favorite in the Juvenile, following Sky Mesa's defection Friday, Vindication is undefeated in three career starts. He broke his maiden in July at Del Mar by 5 ½ lengths, then scored by 1 ½ in an optional claiming event at the same track. He has not raced since cruising by six lengths in the Sept. 14 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III).
In addition, Vindication's breeding -- by a Triple Crown winner out of a Strawberry Road mare -- suggests that 1 1/8 miles will not be a problem.
"There are a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks in this game," Sanan said. "We've made a lot of mistakes in this game; you win some, and you lose some. Hopefully, we got a good one here."
Padua won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) in 1999 with Cash Run, who was trained by Lukas.