Louisiana Derby (gr. II)
(gr. II , 8.5f ,)
Thunder Gulch Circle of Life , by Belong to Me
BDoreen Tabor, KY.; OTabor, Michael B. and Doreen; TTodd A. Pletcher
Mr. Greeley Flowers and Vines , by Blushing John
BOratis Thoroughbreds, KY.; OB. Wayne Hughes; TAlbert M. Stall, Jr.
(DK B/ h,
Cherokee Run Checkered Flag , by A.P. Indy
BDr. Walter Zent, KY.; OWinchell Thoroughbreds LLC; TSteven M. Asmussen
Margins: 2¼, 3, ¾. Others: Imawildandcrazyguy 122($24,000) , Birdbirdistheword 122($12,000) , Liquidity 122($6,000) , Slew's Tizzy 122($6,000) , Soaring By 122($6,000) . Winning Jockey, John R. Velazquez.
Circular Quay took a particularly circuitous path around the final turn on his way to winning the March 10 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) as the 8-5 favorite. Last of eight during the early part of the 11/16 mile race, he went four-wide approaching the stretch and won easily by 21/4 lengths in a determined effort.
The win put him on the right path toward the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) following an unplaced effort in the Feb. 10 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds. In that race, he lost all chance after a horse and rider fell in front of him early in the stretch.
Circular Quay (pronounced key) races for Michael Tabor, whose wife, Doreen, is the breeder of the Thunder Gulch colt.
Michael Tabor, a resident of Monaco who won the 1995 Kentucky Derby with Thunder Gulch, also is represented this year by two other classics hopefuls that won graded stakes this year. Scat Daddy took the March 3 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, and Ravel captured the Feb. 3 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita. Tabor races both in partnership.
Tabor also races grade I winner Rags to Riches in partnership. She won the March 11 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I).
Circular Quay, who is named after the attractive hub in Sydney, Australia, finished a distant second in Eclipse Award balloting to Street Sense last year. Undefeated in his first three races, he won the Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in his second start and the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) by 41/4 lengths at Saratoga in his next. He closed out the year with second-place efforts in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) and Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I),
Tabor, a resident of Monaco, bought Circular Quay’s dam, Circle of Life, for $700,000 at the 1999 Fasig-Tipton Florida March sale of 2-year-olds in training through Demi O’Byrne, agent. Robert N. Scanlon consigned as agent.
Circle of Life won the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) and ran second in the Schuylerville Stakes (gr. II), both at Saratoga at 2. She later placed in the Matron Stakes (gr. I) as a 2-year-old and the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at 3.
Tabor, who along with O’Byrne is an associate of John Magnier and partners’ Irish-based Coolmore Stud, keeps Circle of Life at Creekview Farm near Paris, Ky. Circle of Life is in foal to Giant’s Causeway, who stands at Coolmore’s North American satellite, Ashford Stud, near Versailles, Ky. She is booked to Thunder Gulch.
Thunder Gulch has sired 56 stakes winners, including additional 2007 added-money winners Balance (gr. I), Pasikatera (Aust-III), and Over the Edge. Balance won the March 10 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. I). Thunder Gulch stands at Ashford. His 2007 fee is $30,000.—D.S.