Trainer Ken McPeek shipped into South Florida for the winter season with divisions at Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows, and high expectations after a good season in 2008. Thanks largely to promising juvenile talent, the Lexington native has gotten the new campaign off to a fast start with eight winners, including impressive allowance victories by a trio of different 3-year-old colts.
Lansdon Robbins III and Sam Delaney’s Danger to Society and Silver Wing Stable’s Free Country each won ‘a other than’ allowance races at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 8,and Samotowka Stables and partners’ Theregoesjojo won his ‘a other than’ allowance condition going seven furlongs two days later on Jan. 10.
“Naturally, we’d like to keep them apart for now,” said McPeek Jan. 22. “Right now we’re looking to run Danger to Society in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) here (on Jan. 31), Theregoesjojo in the race at Fair Grounds (Risen Star Stakes, gr. III on Feb. 7) and Free Country in the race at Tampa Bay Downs (Sam Davis Stakes, gr. III on Feb. 14).”
In addition to this accomplished trio of potential Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prospects, McPeek also has another highly regarded 3-year-old colt in Marvin Delfiner and partners’ More Than Willing, although the son of More Than Ready is still a maiden after two starts. He finished a closing third in his debut at Churchill Downs on Nov. 8 and second as the favorite in a six-furlong maiden test on Jan. 3 behind highly regarded Checklist.
“He’s entered for a race Sunday,” McPeek said of More Than Willing. “He’s got to get past his maiden, but we certainly think he has the potential to go on to bigger objectives once he gets that done. It’s a nice problem to have (keeping the talented 3-year-olds apart).”
McPeek picked out for purchase three of the four youngsters at different yearling sales: Danger to Society (by Harlan's Holiday) for $300,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July, Theregoesjojo (by Brahms) for $42,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October, and More Than Willing for $140,000 at Keeneland September. Free Country was purchased by his owner for $10,500 as a weanling at the Keeneland November sales.